Friday, April 18, 2008

Chellas Vegetarian Corner, Serangoon Road

I like this place (70 Serangoon Road, tel: 6297 6297) down in Little India more than just a little bit despite the fact that I'm a meat loving person and there is only vegetarian food that is served here. I had some initial apprehension about the food here since the front of the restaurant looked like a fast food joint of sorts and indeed, the food was served pretty fast after we had ordered. All of the lingering doubts were dispelled after a very satisfying dinner from Chella's.

Being not too familiar with many of the items on menu, we picked what we thought looked interesting and asked the serving staff when we hit things that we didn't recognize at all. Here's a show of what we ended up with apart from the stomach comforting masala tea and milk.

pineapple & cheese dosa
gobi masala

ragi iddiyapam

kara bath

paneer butter masala

paper dosa

What I found very appealing was the variety of appetite whetting sauces/pastes that were available for the dosa. In effect, it gave variety to the flavor of the rice flour pancakes. As I had guessed, the pineapple & cheese dosa was a rather savoury and delectable, married by the salty cheese and appetizing pineapple chunks in the centre. The ragi iddiyappam was a variant of the regular iddiyappam (string hoppers) using what was mentioned to be made with another type of flour. The taste was quite similar to the regular version and it tasted freshly made. It was certainly good with both the orange sugar and spicy coconut chutney. I think I may have found what I've been looking for from what I had some time back in the Song of India, in the form of the kara bath which was a savoury semolina cake with diced vegetables. I'm fairly sure that the sweet version called kesari bath is the very thing I've been looking for.

The gobi masala's delicious with the bits of battered and fried cauliflowers soaking in the spicy gravy. I was a little surprised to see an actual piece of butter melting in the paneer butter marsala.

This place had me scraping up the residual sauces with the spoon. All for $20.50 and very friendly service.

19/04/2008 update - A revisit!!

I had certainly not planned to return just the next day, but I'm definitely not complaining about it. The original intention was to drop by Chellas for some nice hot masala tea or milk, but we ended up ordering something to chew on while at it. This innocuous looking earthy orange mound as you can see above, is the kesari bath which I have mentioned earlier. A sweet steamed semolina cake with bits of of sultana inside. Now in case you are wondering, this wasn't excessively sweet as one is used to having in Indian desserts. In fact this item wasn't even on the desserts section of the menu. I think this stuff is pretty awesome.

While at it, we grabbed also, a chilli, cheese and mushroom dosa and helped ourselves with an order of rasamallai. This particular dosa came with a healthy kick from the spices and also, the salty cheese. The rasamallai we were told is a milk based dessert. I had something similar back in Mustard which was made of cottage cheese and had a texture like damp cardboard. Does anyone know the differences if any between these two?


Quasi una fantasia said...

It's the same thing. It's a Bengali milk-based sweet dish that is commonly known as Rasmalai (roshomalai in Bengali - literally means 'syrup and thickened milk'), but the name varies slightly according to the region. It's a combination of cottage cheese dumplings and sweet milk spiced with cardamom.

LiquidShaDow said...

Thanks for the clarification! :)

Eiktha said...

Tempted to try Chellas based on your review =) The dessert you prob had in Mustard was likely Rasgulla. Round balls of cottage cheese but with what you aptly described, a damp cardboard texture. Not one of my favourite's though. Have you tried gulab jamun?

LiquidShaDow said...

Hi Eiktha,
Note that the place has now reinvented itself into Big Bites