Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good Eats in CBD: Saravanaa Bhavan

Good Eats in CBD: Saravanaa Bhavan

Eating well and nicely in the CBD is sometimes a hit and miss affair. Many office workers don't have the time to experiment or try out new stalls due to the short lunch hour, and many continue to just patronize one or two favourites. Passing by yesterday at Golden Shoe, I spied a little cafeteria like place by the corner at the Ground Floor, just by the entrance of tailor Joe...a vegetarian place. Hailing from its native Chennai, this is a rather famous Indian Vegetarian restaurant.

Well, what caught my eye was the batura...an Indian bread, made from yogurt and fermented yeast, and deep fried till it puffs up like a giant hum chee peng...if you get the drift.


I used to eat this delightful bread, supremely well made by the proprietor at the now defunct Indian Restaurant by my office. And seldom have I come across bathura as well made as those. So Saravanaa's bold, large photograph advertising their bathura caught my eye.

Well, it was no where near what I have once tasted...so long ago, perhaps it is just a memory. But in my mind's eye, that bathura was yet to be beaten. Saravanaa's version was fluffy, but was rather greasy. Served with some chick peas which were very flavourful. And the piece of bread was huge! Measured probably a foot across in diameter!

We also had a serving of vegetable biryani


This is a first for me. Even when travelling with an Indian vegetarian colleague in India, where I ate vegetarian (or pure veg as the Indians call it), I never once tried vegetable biryani.

Very fragrant, rather wet in complexion. The rice was not the thin, wiry basmati we are used to in top grade biryanis, like those served by Indian Times (now sadly, also defunct) or Mirchi's. The rice was spiced up. Taste was ok, but throughout the dish, I felt that I was missing something...perhaps I needed a cutlet of lamb...um, vegetable.

I wished they had some vegetable curry...perhaps with long beans, eggplant and potato as an accompaniment. As it was, it was too bland, and perhaps too simple. And at S$5 a pop, I feel its too expensive.

And I tried the vadai


Variously spelled as vadai, vade, vada. This is a South Indian snack...usually doughnut shaped, made from lentil, grain flour or potato, and deep fried. Eaten with sambar.

The sambar was excellent. Nice, fragrant, spicy. The vadai was a bit of a let down. A bit too hard, though nicely flavoured. But I think rather expensive at S$3.50 for 2.

Perhaps I am not really inclined towards being a vegetarian...I know my raw vegan friends are crinching...but I love my meat too much to eat vegetarian. Looking at the other customers, it seemed like the dosa was a favourite. I didn't try that so cannot comment. But for me, the meal was not as satisfying, though I can see why this restaurant is a favourite of many, just not my cup of tea. Speaking of tea, we did round up our meal with a cup of masala tea, which was very good, albeit a bit too sweet. Again, rather expensive at S$2.50 for a small cup.

Saravanaa Bhavan

50, Market Street,

#01-05 / 5A Golden Shoe Car Park,

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