We chanced into Swaadhisht as LD is having a craving for Appam. Located in Chander Street Little India, it was a nightmare trying to find street parking here. Luckily, Hilton Garden Inn is just opposite the restaurant, so we decided to park there.
While I am doing some prep to write the review, I learned that Swaadhisht is the first restaurant in Singapore serving authentic Kerala cuisine. It has grown over the years to become a refuge for Malayalees (the ethnic people from Kerala) craving a taste of home. The food here is prepared without any artificial colouring or preservative. The name Swaadhisht is derived from the Sanskrit word for tasty.
Swaadhisht Dum Briyani, Mutton ($16). We choose our dum briyani to be cooked in bamboo. Unlike the Malay version of bamboo rice, the bamboo used here looks like a musical instrument and the briyani here is based on Malabar Style. This means the rice is infused with the flavour of spices, dry fruits and ghee. Saffron and other colours are not used here, except for the green colour from the mutton seasoning.
The rice is light, fluffy, infused with the sweet onion and ghee aroma. The mutton is lean, yet tender but packs a spicy punch to it. Surprisingly, the clean taste of the rice makes me unable to resist scooping it into my mouth. Yummy!
Palak Paneer ($10.90). LD favourite dish. The spinach puree is thick, while the cottage cheese is not salty. I find the version here as it feels very healthy and easy to pair with the briyani.
Varutharacha Chicken Curry ($11.50). The Kerala version of chicken curry. Unlike the usual Indian chicken curry, this version uses coconut paste. It has a similar flavour as our Nanyang chicken curry; however, it does not have the lemak taste and texture as no coconut milk is used. Although the curry tastes nice, the chicken is a bit tough for my liking.
Appam ($2). This is what we are here for. It has a crispy edge, followed by a soft, pillowy centre. The fermentation is strong in the pillowy part. I ate my appam a few different ways. Original, dipped in Varutharacha Chicken Curry and also with Pradhaman (easy payasam – kheer / pudding). I find dipping in the Pradhaman is the best, feels like a dessert as the dip tasted like gula Melaka sago, though a bit mushier.
The décor of the restaurant is not very ‘updated’. The furniture seems to be there for a long time, at the same time, it seems to give the place some long-lasting credibility. Service is friendly, though communication can be a bit difficult. The ordering process is very simple, just scan the QR code on the table and place your order there. You only need to make payment after you finish your meal.
CBK Verdict: We love it. Our first-time trying Kerala cuisine and we are already planning for our next visit here. Next time around, we will bring our briyani lovers’ friends and other makan kakis as well to try the rest of the dishes. Cheers!!
Food & Drink: 8/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25; $26 - $50
47 Chander Road
T: +65 6392 0513
OH: Daily 11.00 – 23.00