I have high expectations for Chapatis. So when I heard the masses raving about how Muhabbat Setia Hati Roti Chapati serves praise-worthy chapatis, I had to check it out for myself. Located on the second floor of Geylang Serai Food Centre, the stall is hard to miss as the uncle rolls out chapatis non-stop.
If you frequent Geylang Serai Food Centre, you’d know that this place is filled with an abundance of good food (and people). As a person who religiously avoids crowded places, the mere thought of making my way down in the morning or right after lunchtime set off alarm bells in my head. I don’t know how most of you can do it, but I’m not cut out to be around too many people at once.
Back to the topic on hand. I arrived just a little over 3.30pm and realised that most of the stalls had closed for the day. The rumours are true, the many stalls here definitely run out of their offerings fast. After walking around what seemed like an abandoned food centre, I finally found Muhabbat Setia Hati and the striking lime green-yellow signboard calling out to me.
The simple-looking stall reminded me of an open concept kitchen most restaurants are going for these days. Fewer items = more space, right? As I approached the stall, I immediately saw a Tawa (a flat, rimless griddle) on the side. “This must be legit,” I thought to myself.
What I tried at Muhabbat Setia Hati Roti Chapati
If you don’t already know, chapati is an Indian unleavened flatbread made of whole-wheat flour. And as a by-product of a mixed marriage, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy homemade chapatis by my maternal grandmother growing up. So, yes, the bar is set at an all-time high.
Looking at the uncle tirelessly rolling out chapatis instantly sent me down memory lane to when I used to assist my grandmother in the kitchen. Aching forearms, you are not missed. Freshness, however, is to be expected.
I placed my order for six Chapatis (S$6) and witnessed the uncle swiftly flatten balls of unleavened dough into thin floured discs. He then proceeded to place the discs on the hot griddle and cooked them till charred bubbles formed on both sides. I also noticed the chapatis were rolled out in huge discs as opposed to the smaller discs I was used to.
Chapatis here aren’t cooked in butter or ghee, so I obviously couldn’t have it dry and without any sides. Hence, I ordered a side of Keema (S$8.50). As I arrived a little over lunchtime, Muhabbat Setia Hati ran out of their vegetable dishes and dal. Huge bummer as I’ve heard songs of praises of the latter two dishes.
One look is all it took to notice that the gravy of the Keema was a tad too oily and diluted for my liking. For the unbeknownst, Keema is a savoury stew of ground lamb/goat/beef flavoured with a medley of ground spices with green peas and mini potato cubes.
Although the Keema here doesn’t come with green peas, there was a generous amount of meat and potato cubes. However, it did look a little dull due to its brownish hue.
It didn’t come with a burst of aromatics and certainly lacked the oomph factor in my books.
I proceed to tear off a piece of the flatbread and scoop up a sizable amount of gravy, meat and potato into my small piece before popping the load into my mouth. I was not impressed.
As chapatis are generally soft and light, the one here was quite doughy for my liking. I’m unsure why this was the case, but the next time I make my way to Geylang Serai Food Centre, I’ll be sure to check the kind of flour they use to make their chapatis here.
The Keema here was flavourful and not overly gamey, however, it was too diluted and peppery for my liking. It also lacked the definitive spiciness that’s evident in every keema dish.
Personally, I’ve tasted better chapatis over the years and Muhabbat Setia Hati Roti Chapati doesn’t quite make the cut for me. I do hope to go back another day to try out their dal as I’ve heard good things about it.
If I was around the area and craving chapati, I’d come down. However, there are better eateries out there selling mouth-watering chapatis and side dishes.
Expected damage: S$1 to S$10.50
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