The Banana Leaf Apolo
A look at one of the treasured eateries of Little India.
82% ("Very Good" based on 5 Reviews) 6293 8682 Website 54 Race Course Road Singapore 218564
The Banana Leaf Apolo for years was near the top of our list on food that we had to try. We’ve heard people rave about how it serves authentic and affordable Indian cuisine but we just never never had the time to go down to Little India. I was glad a project I had gave me the opportunity to fully explore Little India first hand. And my first stop was of course the Banana Leaf Apolo, and what a delightful experience it turned out to be!
Located along race course road and about a 3 minute from Little India MRT, it was relatively easy to find. Just head out of exit E, make a U-turn and walk straight all the way along the main road.
The first thing you notice about the restaurant are the many big tables joined together. This place was clearly used to accommodating big groups, and it was no different today.
If you’re wondering how they got the name, well they explain it on their menu. It is Indian hospitality to serve guests food on a Banana Leaf. It stirs up a good appetite and guests are welcomed to use their fingers to tuck in like how Indian food is eaten traditionally.
I was given crackers as an appetiser, also known as “Papadum” and it was one of the best ones I’ve eaten. Indeed the appetiser lived up to its name and whet my appetite, a refreshing change to the restaurants who serve cold tasteless bread that end up doing the opposite.
I was tempted to order the Fish Head Curry, a dish they are famous for but the smallest portion they had was for sharing and priced at $22. I settled for the two chef recommended items on the menu, Chicken Masala ($5) & Garlic Naan ($3).
Naan for those who don’t know is a oven-baked flatbread. It is cooked in a tandoor or clay oven, which makes it different from its cousin the “roti” which can be cooked in pans. I loved the chewy texture of the Naan and the garlic taste was just nice, adding a complimentary flavour.
The Chicken Masala is normally eaten with Briyani Rice. Opps, I guess I should have asked the waiter first. I decided to pair it with the Naan, and it still went decently together with it. I guess Indians who saw me might have thought I was quite silly to do that, oh well.
The Chicken was marinated in spicy Masala sauce, in a delicious concoction of spices. I normally can identify some of the ingredients used but this time I was stumped and thoroughly enjoyed it even though I did not know what I was eating. I wish there was more Masala sauce to go with it. There was some additional curry that wasn’t as spicy and it kinda made up for the the lack of Masala sauce.
Their counter wall was filled up with various awards of culinary excellence received over the years. I took out two 10 dollar notes and gave it to the cashier. I was pleasantly surprised when he returned me one. Its been a while where I had such good food under ten dollars.
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