A real gem in Havelock’s Central Square is Annalakshmi Restaurant, offering homely and authentic vegetarian Northern and Southern Indian cuisine.
Annalakshmi boasts an interesting dining concept: they offer absolutely no menu and their food is served buffet-style. At the end of the meal, diners pay as they wish.
We had a unique dining experience here, just like that of having a meal cooked by a friend’s mother at their cosy home.
In addition to providing an unconventional dining experience, Annalakshmi is also mostly run by generous volunteers who dedicate their time to the restaurant and provide their help in all aspects including cooking, serving, dishwashing, transportation and more.
The reason behind Annalakshmi’s business model is simply to provide service to their diners and not put too much pressure on the amount of profit they earn. As such, they also do not run on a typical hierarchical structure one is used to in an organisation.
Since the restaurant is mostly run by volunteers, it is tough to pin a price point on these selfless and compassionate acts of service. That said, we recommend paying at least S$10 for your meal.
MOUTH-WATERING INDIAN FOOD
We arrived at Annalakshmi early and were promptly seated at a table right by the delectable spread of food, ranging from fluffy and fragrant basmati rice to dhal and several varieties of side dishes.
Each of the vegetarian dishes was incredibly aromatic and tempting with the delicious mixture of scents and spices wafting through the air.
One of our favourite combinations on the plate was the Naan which soaked up the Moong Dhal’s flavours and delivered a burst of spices into our mouths.
There is also a live station of Dosa Delights, where diners can choose from 4 different types of dosas such as Plain, Butter, Masala and Jaffna (a Sri Lankan variation of Dosa).
We also headed over to the live station and ordered a Plain Dosa and Masala Dosa from the friendly chef who promptly cooked it before us. The dosas were thin and perfectly crisp yet soft in the centre as well, and both the sauces paired beautifully with it.
Offering a vast array of drinks as well, we ordered their Grape Lassi to round up our meal at Annalakshmi. The lassi was creamy from the yoghurt and had just the right amount of sweetness.
Give Annalakshmi a visit if you wish to introduce a foreign friend to Indian cuisine, or even if you are craving for a hearty, delicious vegetarian meal and wish to contribute to a good social cause.
The compassionate restaurant and its volunteers will definitely have us visit again soon.
#01, 20 Havelock Rd,
04 Central Square, Singapore 059765
Tel: +65 6339 9993
Mon: 11am – 3pm
Tue to Sun: 11am – 3pm, 6.15pm – 9.30pm
Nearest Station: Chinatown/Clarke Quay