What’s a buffet?

If you’ve never been to a buffet, I don’t know what to tell you. They’re places whereby you pay a fixed price, and get to eat all the food you want at no cost. The only restrictions are usually time, and selected menu items that are specially prepared for you. Some buffet places also charge you for alcohol, if alcohol is present on the menu.

Buffets are like a party for your belly, except you’re the only one invited. For a set price, you get to stuff your face full with all kinds of different foods, in any order that you want. You can have your dessert after your appetiser, your appetiser after your main course, and if you’re like me, a main course after your main course. It’s fantastic.

Even more fantastic is that there are dozens of buffets to choose from. The trend tends to follow whatever food options are popular at the time. Currently, the trend seems to lean towards Korean BBQ buffets, but there were a few anomalies that pop up from time to time. Who can forget the durian buffet at Bedok, or the golden salted egg fountain over at Novotel Singapore’s The Square Restaurant’s buffet?

Unfortunately, over here at Unopening we don’t get the freedom to choose what kind of buffets we want to write about. If I could, I would’ve written about the top 10 Japanese wagashi buffets in Singapore – except I don’t think it exists here yet.

Since I’m working from home today, I figured out it would be a perfect time for you to call in sick at work too. And what better excuse to use than “the Gate of Hell has relocated to my rectum”? 

That’s right. Today, it’s time to pull your favourite colleague over to one of these Indian buffets in Singapore, indulge in spicy curries, delicious biryanis and crispy prata, and suffer the aftereffects of a molten stomach for the next few days. 

Before we start, here are a few disclaimers:

  1. I have not personally eaten at these places. Given my low spice tolerance, I’d be dead.
  2. All images are sourced from the company’s websites. I do not own any rights to these pictures.
  3. I do have some experience with cooking, but never with Indian cuisine. If I sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s because I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.
  4. Nobody sponsored me for this post. Please tag one of these restaurants and change that.

Sit comfortably and loosen your belt, because we’re about to begin.

1. Shah Maharani

indian-buffet-Shah Maharani
At Shah Maharani, all the buffet food is prepared on-site
Pricing: Weekday lunch buffet: $ 56++ (One for one)
Sunday Chaat & Tandoori Buffet Lunch at $36++ (Adult), $25++ (Child)

Address: 252 North Bridge Road #03–21B Raffles City Shopping Centre Singapore 179103 

Shahi Maharani serves up North Indian cuisine, which is more focused on meat and dairy products. The indian buffet includes stuff like kebabs, bread, and various assortments of meat, all served warm from the tandoor. 

If you don’t know what a tandoor is, it’s a clay/metal oven shaped in a cylinder. It can be used to cook bread by slapping the dough to the sides of the oven, or meat hung from skewers. Food cooked within a tandoor is smoked naturally via the meat fat dripping onto the hot coals, and temperatures can reach up to 450°C. 

Have you ever eaten garlic butter naan that has been perfumed heavily with roasted spices and the smoke from beef fat? On your first bite, all your other senses will shut down so that your brain can focus on your taste buds. 

The Wikipedia author states that food cooked in a tandoor is exposed to live fire, radiant heat, and convection. The Unopening author states that food cooked in a tandoor is great, and should be encouraged more often. 

Chaat station
Chaat station

My only issue with tandoori – food cooked in a tandoor – is that you can’t exactly replicate it at home without your house smelling of smoke.

Another thing that can be found at Shahi Maharani is a chaat station – which you might refer to as a salad station for savoury food. Here you can pair all sorts of condiments together to form your own unique dish. Alternatively, you can stick to what’s tried and tested, and go for street snacks such as dahi puri, which is a crispy pastry skin filled with chickpeas/mashed potatoes, yogurt, chutney, and spices. 

2. Sitara Restaurant

Some of the food selections at Sitara Restaurant
Some of the food selections at Sitara Restaurant
Pricing: Lunch Buffet @ $11.90+ (11.30am to 2.50pm)
Dinner Buffet @ $16.80+ (6.30pm to 10pm)
Includes free flow of freshly Baked Naans or Rotis.

This promotion is only available via reservation, so make sure to call them at 6291 3211 if you want to book a table.

Address: 291 Serangoon Road Singapore 218107

Sitara Restaurant offers one of the cheapest indian buffets in Singapore. They feature a decent collection of items in their North Indian buffet menu, including freshly baked naans and rotis, as well as freshly-made chapati. 

You probably won’t find much meat here – but there are several gravies and curries that you can choose from to get your protein fix. Moong dal, for instance, is a yellow mung bean curry that is mildly savoury, yet thick enough to have substance. If you prefer something with more flavour, palak paneer is a cottage cheese and spinach gravy that will linger on your tongue long after you’ve finished your mouthful.

I’m a simple person; my favourite curry is the chicken curry located at the kopitiam opposite my house. That being said, I can feel the prata store owner frowning at me as my allegiances begin to sway. Cottage cheese is one of my favourite cheeses, and I can only imagine what it would be like when paired with savoury spinach and a buttery naan.

Better yet, it’s located along Serangoon Road. After you’ve loaded up on carbs and curry, there are plenty of other food stores that you can take note of on your way back to work/bed. 

3. The Song of India

Gallery page for The Song of India
Gallery page for The Song of India
Price: Sunday brunch buffet $46.90++ 
Gourmet lunch buffet $36.90++ (Monday-Saturday)
Limited lunch promotion: For every 3 paying adults, the 4th person dinesfor free.

Address: 33 Scotts Road Singapore 228226

Amongst the Indian restaurants in Singapore, there’s one aspect to The Song of India that makes it stand out from all the others: it has a Michelin star. 

A Michelin star is like the Billboard Hot 100 chart of the gourmet world. Getting a Michelin star means that you can be prepared to receive even more customers, as food hunters from all over the world head over to try your fare. Singapore is no stranger to this prestigious award; despite our tiny size, we actually have more restaurants with Michelin stars than Shanghai or Seoul.

Of all the restaurants in Singapore with a Michelin star, however, The Song of India is the only Indian restaurant. If that doesn’t warrant a visit, I don’t know what does.

The Song of India changes the food items on their buffet menus daily, so it’s a little hard to tell you what you can expect to be served. However, you can be sure that crowd favourites such as Lamb Vindaloo, Paneer Kofta Curry, Butter Chicken, or Goan Fish Curry will probably make an appearance somewhere on the table. 

At this indian restaurant buffet, diners are treated to a full course menu. That means that soups and salads, appetisers, main courses, desserts, and drinks are all available for tasting. 

This can be a little tricky. At expensive buffets, you want to make sure you eat your money’s worth, and not spend the whole time eating low-cost stuff like fries. But with most indian buffets, curries and bread are some of the most prominent things on the table, and they’re not exactly expensive.

My recommendation is to go for the proteins first. After all, the animal died for you to eat it, and it costs the most. Fish is usually worth more, and carbohydrates such as rice and bread should be avoided, as they make you feel full the fastest.

4. Annalakshmi

Entrance of Annalakshmi
Entrance of Annalakshmi
Price: Free.

Opening hours: Mon: 11am – 3pm
Tue to Sun: 11am – 3pm, 6.15pm – 9.30pm

Address: Village Residence Clarke Quay, 20, Havelock Road

You read that right. It’s free of charge.

Well, technically it is, if you’re a miser. Annalakshmi is a vegetarian Indian restaurant that serves both North Indian and South Indian cuisine. It has no menu at all; the food is prepared by the volunteers who want to dedicate their time to the restaurant. These volunteers also take care of all the other aspects of running the restaurant, such as dishwashing and the transportation of ingredients and food.

Diners can pay however much they feel like paying, and knowing Singaporeans, I’m sure there are a few who have visited just to get a free meal. However, if you have the ability to give, please do so – the restaurant couldn’t have stayed in operation for so long without donations. 

Some of the menu items that I could find, after searching online, are moong dal (yellow lentil curry), vegetarian biryanis, dosas, and naans. The reviews that I’ve seen also seem to praise the food highly, which is slightly surprising considering that their chefs are not forced to meet high quality standards. Then again, volunteer chefs often cook to make people happy instead of earning money, so I suppose it’s not that far-fetched after all.

What I’m most impressed by is the decor. From the outside of the restaurant to the interior decor, almost nothing about it screams “free food”. Furthermore, it’s located in Clarke Quay, where the rental for shops probably costs a bomb. Despite that, they still manage to maintain their business model – maybe Singaporeans are less stingy than I thought.

5. Tiffin Room

The luxurious decor of the Tiffin Room
The luxurious decor of the Tiffin Room
Price: Starts at S$50 per adult and S$30 for children.

Opening hours: Everyday
Lunch Buffet – 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Address: 1 Beach Road, Raffles Hotel, Singapore 189673

Advance reservations are highly recommended. Call them at 6412 1816 to make a booking.

Attire: Smart casual – attire is strictly implemented

Tiffin Room has been around ever since 1892, and is one of the oldest indian restaurants in Singapore. But don’t let its age fool you; the decor of the room is insanely ornate, resembling the interior of a British castle’s dining hall. Not that I would know what one looks like.

Tiffin Room serves North Indian cuisine in tiffin boxes, which are the boxes used for food deliveries back in the 2000s. What’s special about this place is that you get an interactive dining experience with a chef by your tableside, as well as freshly ground spices to enhance the occasion. 

As with most buffets on this list, this Indian restaurant changes its buffet menu often, so that guests are treated to a revolving platter of lunch options. 

6. Carousel Buffet Restaurant

Look at that damn spread of food, man
Look at that damn spread of food, man
Pricing table can be found below

Address: 25 Scotts Rd, Royal Plaza, Singapore 228220

Reservations can be made at 6219 3780.
Carousel Buffet Restaurant Pricing Table
Carousel Buffet Restaurant Pricing Table

Carousel Buffet Restaurant isn’t strictly an Indian restaurant – rather, it’s a buffet restaurant that happens to serve Indian cuisine. Just like the other restaurants, Carousel rotates its menu every now and then, ensuring that visitors can sample new flavours all the time – and what a range of flavours they have.

They have an absolutely incredible selection of food options, spanning cuisines from all around the world. This includes Japanese, Italian, Mediterranian, Asian, and Indian cuisine, each with their own appetisers, main courses, and desserts. As much as I want to go off on a tangent and talk about all the available options, I can’t; you clicked on this article to find more information on the Indian buffet places in Singapore. 

So I shall oblige. 

This is a chart of their food, which they have so graciously provided:

Tandoori (3 in Rotation)Tandoori Squid
Squid marinated with Ginger, Garlic and Yoghurt
Achari Murgh
Chicken marinated with Pickling Spices
Mutton Seekh Kebab
Minced Mutton with a Melange of Herbs and Spices
Basil Ka Macchi Tikka
Red Snapper marinated with Ginger, Garlic, Yoghurt and Fresh Basil
Lahori Chicken Tikka
Spicy Cumin and Clove-marinated Chicken Breast
Vegetables (3 in Rotation)Punjabi Dal Tadka
Pigeon Lentils with Onions and Tomatoes, tempered with Dried Red Chillies and Asafoetida
Paneer Lababdar
Cottage Cheese simmered in Tomato Puree and Spices with Capsicum
Bagara Baingan
Eggplant with Mustard Seeds and Fresh Curry Leaves
Kumbh Methi Mutter
Button Mushrooms, Green Peas and Fenugreek Leaves with Onion-Tomato Gravy
Bhindi do Pyaza
Ladies’ Fingers simmered in Amchoor, Onions Chilli, Tomatoes and Asafoetida
Khumb Hara Dhania
Button and Portobello Mushrooms tossed with Coriander Leaf Pesto, Onions and Spices
Methi Pakoda Kadhi
Yoghurt Curry with Chickpea Flour Dumplings
Exotic Seafood (1 in Rotation)Madras Fish Curry
Boneless Fish Cubes in a Curry and Tamarind Gravy
Indian Curry Crab
Mud Crab braised in Aromatic Curry Sauce
Prawn Sofia
Prawns marinated in Ginger, Yoghurt and Spices
Meat (1 in Rotation)Goan Fish Curry
Boneless Fish cooked in Special Indian Herbs
Squid Chatpata
Squid cooked with Onions, Tomatoes and Spices
Seafood Jalfrezi
Mixed Seafood cooked in Spicy Gravy
Basmati Rice (1 in Rotation)Saffron Ka Pulao with Peas
Indian Basmati Rice cooked with Green Peas and Saffron
Zafrani Veg Biryani
Basmati Rice with Mixed Vegetable and Fragrant Spices
Selection of Naan Bread and Indian Chutney

The rotating menu ensures that there are 9 options for you to choose from anytime you visit. It may not seem like a lot, but that’s excluding the dishes from all the other cuisines. Dozens of desserts are prepared everyday, so you can stuff your greedy face with 6 tiny cakes at the same time without feeling guilty.

All the food here is also Halal certified; even the cheese is Halal. 

Due to the way food interacts with heat and the environment, buffet food tends to nosedive in quality after too much time in a pot. Despite that, reviews for Carousel Buffet Restaurant seems to be good, with many satisfied customers saying that the food was worth the price. And with a price tag like that, nothing short of stellar is going to cut it. 

And there you have it. Some of the best Indian buffets in Singapore for when you really want to get your spice kick. Make sure to visit every one of them and let me know which is your favourite, so that I can do up an article about the ‘10 best slimming pills in Singapore’.


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