Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A1 Padmini's Restaurant Pte Ltd

(Note: This is not a 100% vegetarian restaurant)

Just when I was planning to explore vegetarianism in Thai cuisine, Yuan Yuan Thai Vegetarian Restaurant ceased operation in Geylang Lor 27. To make things worse, the new occupant is no longer a 100% vegetarian eatery. Had this been a Chinese or Western eatery, I would simply give it a miss. However its signboard which bears an Indian name stops me in my track to examine its menu at least. Being a race with a vegetarian friendly culture, many Indian restaurants encompass a selection of dishes specially for the vegetarians. I was glad to see A1 Padmini's Restaurant Pte Ltd being one of such restaurants.

Despite being lunch hour, the restaurant was rather quiet. Even the enticing opening promotion failed to draw a crowd. Could this be a reflection of the standard of their food or mere poor marketing? Let's find out.

The Food

Veg Biryani, S$ 3.50

No one knows for sure the origins of Biryani. Many historians speculate that this dish has its roots in the Muslim kitchen because the name "Biryani" seems to be derived from the Persian word "Birian". "Birian" means fried before cooking, which roughly matches the way Biryani is cooked. As far as Singapore is concerned, we tend to associate this dish with the Indians who usually include it in their restaurant menu. Although there are numerous variations of Biryani, the common ingredients boils down to just rice and spice. Hence biryani can easily be customised for the vegetarians by excluding the animal products such as chicken and mutton.

One of the characteristics of a good biryani is that the rice grains do not stick to one another. A way to achieve this free flowing fluffiness is to use basmati rice. Due to the higher cost of this premium grain, it is substituted with normal rice grains at places that sell biryani set meal at a cheaper price. Thus I was surprised to see it being used in the S$ 3.50 vegetarian biryani set by A1 Padmini's. After eating biryani cooked with normal rice (Mostly at the Chinese stalls) quite a number of times, this was indeed a nice change. Except for the fact that the rice was a little too moist which somewhat offset the aromatic flavor, I could tolerate the standard here.

Out of the vegetables I had chosen, I particularly liked the cucumber and pineapple salad. Judging from the taste, I doubted that any dressing was used. Instead it relied on the pineapple juice that was appropriately diluted by the natural water from the cucumber to enhance the salad. Its refreshing taste served as a counterbalance to the extremely hot curry and the dreadfully saline spinach side dish.

While the use of basmati rice did won me over a little, I still considered the vegetarian biryani here to be average. Until I find something more superior, I still prefer the more expensive vegetarian biryani at Prata Wala (NEX).

Plain Naan With 2 Vegetables, S$ 3.00

Naan is not usually my choice of flatbread when I dined in Indian restaurant, not after a misadventure with a oily and soggy curry naan from Breadtalk several years ago. However my desire to populate the Indian cuisine section of my blog with a variety of Indian flatbreads made me give naan a second chance. One striking difference between naan and other flatbread lies in its relatively thicker volume. Also naan is baked in the tandoor as opposed to being fried on a skillet.

One could go no wrong with food served piping hot, like it was done at A1 Padmini's. I was almost fooled by the crispy appearance of the naan which turned out to be pleasantly soft and chewy. Just as the name suggested, plain naan did not contain any stuffings, hence it stood no chance of being overly greasy. For me, naan tasted better when baked separately from the curry, and the mixing of the two should be done just before they entered my mouth.

It remained to be seen, after trying naan at a few other places, if the naan here could be considered good. Nevertheless it was decent enough to rekindle my interest in this thick Indian flatbread.


The vegetarian food at A1 Padmini's has a mixture of hits and misses. Its problematic areas mainly attributes to the overuse of salt. No wonder the boss kept asking me to buy the drinks. Hmm... smells like a conspiracy here. Anyway, if the actual price of the food is not too far from the promotional ones, I might consider returning due to the proximity between A1 Padmini's and my work place.

Address:45 Lor 27 Geylang
Opening Hours:-
Bus Service:-
MRT Station:Aljunied

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful work as always Prefer Vege!

    Please please please don't use the Bread Talk 'naan as an accurate gauge on how naan is, haha. And judging by look, this naan isn't of a high standard either. It didn't spend long enough in the tandoor, and is a little too thick.

    I'd like to recommend the Sagar Ratna naan (garlic naan or butter naan), this is a true naan, with beautiful charred flavour - I am sure you will love it.

    Keep up the good work!