Friday, April 18, 2008

Chellas Vegetarian Corner, Serangoon Road

I liked this place (70 Serangoon Road, tel: 6297 6297) in Little India more than just a little bit despite the fact that there is only vegetarian food served here. Was initially apprehensive since the front of the restaurant looked like a fast food joint of sorts. To that image, the food was served pretty fast after we had ordered. But the lingering doubts were dispelled after a very satisfying dinner..

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 came across things that we didn't recognize at all. Here's a show of what we ended up with.

pineapple & cheese dosa
gobi masala

ragi iddiyapam

kara bath

paneer butter masala

paper dosa

Appealing were the variety of appetite whetting sauces/dips that were available for the dosa. Those gave variety to the flavour of the rice flour pancakes. As I had also imagined, their pineapple & cheese dosa was savoury and delectable - married by the salty cheese and sweet pineapple chunks in them.

The ragi iddiyappam was a variant of the regular iddiyappam (string hoppers) using another type of flour. It was quite similar to the regular version and it tasted freshly made. Delicious with both the orange sugar or spicy coconut chutney. I also thought I may have found what I had been looking for from the Song of India, in the form of the kara bath which was a savoury semolina cake with diced vegetables. Pretty sure that the sweet version called kesari bath was it.

The gobi masala's delicious with the bits of battered and fried cauliflowers soaking in the spicy gravy. I was 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 not planned to return just the next day, but I'm not complaining. Originally, we wanted to drop by Chellas for hot masala tea or milk. We ended up ordering something to munch while at it. This innocuous looking earthy orange mound above was the kesari bath which I have mentioned earlier. A sweet steamed semolina cake flavoured with saffron and some sultana raisins. Now in case you were wondering, this wasn't excessively sweet as one might imagine. In fact this wasn't even on the desserts section of the menu. I thought it was pretty awesome.

While at it, we grabbed also a chilli, cheese and mushroom dosa and helped ourselves with an order of rasamallai. That dosa came with a robust kick from the spices. Delicious with the salty cheese. The rasamallai we were told, was 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?


S 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! :)

Unknown 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