Finding a restaurant that successfully executes a multicultural cuisine while also meeting expectations of both authenticity and taste can sometimes be challenging. With his latest creation, restaurateur Shiva Natarajan takes the challenge head on and invites you to savor Malaysian, Hakka Chinese, Thai, and Indian cuisines at Singapura.
Singapura (Malay for Singapore), offers you the opportunity to savor the distinct flavors of the country’s cultural melting pot through the legacy and tradition stemming from private homes and hawker food stalls (open-air centers selling a variety of inexpensive dishes to the public). At Singapura, the menu celebrates the mix of several cuisines and all of the essential spices.
Upon entering the restaurant, Atul Palikhel, the general manager, welcomes you to the intimate space that possesses a modern look where colorful floral ceiling lamps hang over the comfortable booths and abacuses (ancient Chinese calendars) adorn the walls.
Enjoy one of several beers on the menu, including King Fisher (an Indian beer, $5.50) or a glass of wine as you peruse through the eclectic menu. Sodas and water are served in glass drinking jars.
To begin your culinary journey, start off with the roti canai ($5)—an Indian-influenced flatbread—served with your choice of chicken or potato curry. The curry comes in a soup bowl with steamed potatoes (or shredded chicken) mixed in a tasty coconut-based curry sauce. Dip the roti canai into the curry and you’ll discover why this is considered a Malaysian favorite. Cheese lovers might want to try the chili paneer ($7)—a non-melting farmer cheese typical of South Asian cuisine. Singapura kicks it up a notch by mixing up the paneer with tangy green chilies.
One of the signature appetizers is known as the drums of heaven ($8)—a Chinese favorite. Those who love chicken wings will relish each bite of these spicy pulled back wings served with an even spicier sauce on the side. The wings might be small but they end up being quite hearty.
For the main course, consider selecting a few entrées (depending on the size of your party, of course) to experience the different flavors of Singapore. For an authentic Chinese dish, you will be quite content with the Szechuan chicken ($13)—chicken strips and a vegetable medley that includes tomatoes, broccoli, and baby corn all mixed together in a zesty black peppercorn and garlic sauce. For a beef option, consider the massaman beef ($14)—a savory Thai dish in which beef strips are served in a curry-based sauce containing coconut milk and peanuts.
To complement the entrées, add on one of the fried rice or noodle dishes. The nasi goreng—Indonesian fried rice—is stir fried rice typically spiced up using chilies, shallots, garlic, and tamarind in addition to fried egg and your choice of chicken, beef, vegetables, or shrimp ($10-13). If you prefer noodles, you can go the traditional route with pad thai or be a little adventurous by opting for the chili garlic noodles—egg noodles mixed in a spicy hot red Szechuan sauce ($10-13).
To conclude your culinary excursion, the mango sticky rice ($5) will certainly broaden your horizons. The consistency may not be for everyone, but definitely worth trying. If you want to play it a little safe, you will be delighted with the fried banana ($5).
Singapura certainly fulfills its mission of serving up authentic dishes from its multicultural mélange of flavors. On any given night, you will find Singapura to be crowded, a testament to its success in creating the melting pot of cuisines. Add on attentive service, generous portions, and reasonable prices, and you’ll find yourself coming back for more.
106 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York 1006
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