Amber Tandoor Restaurant, Little India: “Fried Nepalese dumplings from heaven”

·4-min read

There’s more to Indian cuisine than just naan and thosai; Indian cuisine consists of a variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. It’s diverse, it’s colourful— and most importantly, every dish has a story to tell and a punch of flavours to offer.

Anyone can easily tell you to make your way down to Little India for good Indian food but where to go is the question. Today, allow me to be your sherpa and guide you to Amber Tandoor Restaurant, a quaint gem that serves exceptional Nepalese and North Indian cuisine.

Image of store front
Image of store front

Let’s be honest, good Nepalese food is hard to come by in Singapore due to its elusiveness. However, I’m here to do the hard work of sourcing out these hidden gems and introducing them to you.

What I tried

Image of chicken momo
Image of chicken momo

What’s Nepalese food without starting off with a plate of Chicken Momo (S$9.90 for six)? Akin to the Japanese gyoza and Chinese bao, momos are small envelopes of white flour stuffed with vegetables or marinated minced meat. Over at Amber Tandoor Restaurant, like many other places, you have the option of having your momos steamed or fried.

The momos here are homemade, which explains their inconsistent shapes but they sure are generously filled. It also comes with a side of Nepalese chutney for you to dip your little dumplings of joy into.

Close up of chicken momo with mint chutney
Close up of chicken momo with mint chutney

I’ve been coming here for years and I believe I know the best way to enjoy a momo. It may be a little unorthodox to some, so I apologise in advance for tainting the traditional way of eating it. Order yourself a side of mint chutney, cut your momo in half, and pour a spoonful of mint chutney over to experience a burst of flavours from the spicy chutney, spiced meat, and the thin, yet exceptionally crunchy, golden brown skin.

Words can’t express how fantastic these fried Nepalese dumplings from heaven taste until you’ve tried them for yourself.

Amber Tandoor Restaurant 07
Amber Tandoor Restaurant 07

Another Nepali delight is the Sekuwa (S$13). The sekuwa is essentially meat that’s traditionally roasted in a natural wood fire—Nepalese country-style. Like tandoori chicken, the meat is marinated with natural herbs and spices along with other ingredients while it’s still raw before being skewered and grilled.

Close up of sekuwa
Close up of sekuwa

Although it can be made with various kinds of meat, Amber Tandoor Restaurant only sells chicken sekuwa. At first glance, it will look a bit similar to a plate of chicken tikka with its reddish hue and charred bits, but its taste profile’s vastly different.

After squeezing the slice of lime given on the side, have a piece of chicken with a slice of onion, you’ll be greeted with an explosion of zestiness that meets traditional Indian flavours paired with a delicious smoky aftertaste. This lip-smacking appetiser will definitely leave you wanting more but I wasn’t prepared to wait another 20 minutes for the next plate.

Image of mutton briyani
Image of mutton briyani

Okay, this may seem a tad anti-climactic but I believe my actions are justifiable. One simply cannot visit Amber Tandoor Restaurant without having a plate of Amber Mutton Briyani (S$12.90). I know it’s not a Nepali staple but my inner briyani lover just can’t get enough of this tasty dish.

It is served in a stainless steel bowl—dum-style—along with a side of curry and black pepper papad. After flipping over the bowl on your plate, dig in. Here’s the deal; when you can indulge in a hearty plate of briyani without dousing it with curry, that means you’re having an exceptional plate of briyani. That’s the case with Amber Mutton Briyani.

A spoonful of mutton briyani
A spoonful of mutton briyani

The mutton isn’t gamey and is well-marinated resulting in a robust spoonful of fluffy rice and mutton with each bite. If you like a little spice on your palate, the crunchy black pepper papad on the side will give you a healthy kick of heat.

Final thoughts

Image of the interior
Image of the interior

Visually, Amber Tandoor Restaurant may not seem inviting at first with its basic wooden furniture and non-air-conditioned seating area. However, its dishes are a testament that you should not judge a book by its cover. Although situated right next to the busy Serangoon Road, the noise will immediately get drowned out as soon as you immerse yourself in the slew of ridiculously tasty dishes by the talented folks in Amber’s kitchen.

One visit is never enough because with food at this standard and quality, I’m always going back for more—especially to get my momo fix because they serve one of the best around the area. So if you’re looking to be a bit more adventurous, why not drop by Amber Tandoor Restaurant for a good Nepalese meal?

Expected damage: S$10 – S$35 per pax

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