Review: Roots Kitchen & Bar – Little India’s Hidden Gem

Food Quality
Reader Rating2 Votes
Great food
Nice Ambience
Outstanding service quality
Could be better
Desserts don't have the same balance of tastes as the mains

Every once in a while you just can’t seem to find a good place to eat. That happens to me a lot. But I’m the adventurous sort, so what I do is think of an area, say Little India and type it into Google Maps. Then I just pick a random restaurant that pops up. That’s what happened for lunch this past Saturday, and what an adventure it was.

Roots (Roots Kitchen & Bar at 30 Dickson Road, Singapore 209512) is a very cozy little restaurant hidden in the side streets near Little India. At first sight, it doesn’t look like much. But upon walking past the sliding door, you’re greeted by a nicely decorated rustic interior and the beautiful smiles of the staff.

We started our lunch with a few appetizers. I had the Absolut Cured Salmon – two slender cuts of vodka cured salmon with pickled dill cucumber and garlic aioli made a really great combination. The sour from the dill cucumber and the sweet flavor from the beautifully vodka cured salmon were perfect together.

My wife had the tomato soup. It was nice and creamy with the right amount of tomato flavor with a special surprise hidden at the bottom of the bowl – a dallop of crab guacamole. The soup was a bit salty and the chorizo gave it a bit of spice. Combine that with the sweetness of the crab guacamole and it makes a great match.

Being the gluttons that we are, we also tried the Loaded Sweet Potato Fries as well as the Baked Camembert. I’m normally not a huge fan of sweet potato fries but these were great. Covered in cheese, crumbled feta, jalapeños, and nestled on top of stewed pork, this was a well put together dish. The spicyness of the jalapeños complimented the sweet potato really well, and the stewed pork was just icing on the cake. We had one more appetizer, but I’ll save the best for last.

For our mains we had the Seared Atlantic Sea Bass and the Ocean Crab Pasta. The Seabass was laid on top of some asparagus, celery and chopped pieces of prawn and was lightly covered with a nice broth. The fish was both soft and flaky on the inside, with a crunchy layer on the outside.

The Ocean crab pasta was surprisingly loaded with crab meat and tossed in a slightly salty lobster bisque. The crab was sweet and countered the saltyness of the bisque. It was really filling, even though the portion didn’t look very much.

The only real let down of the whole meal was the dessert. We shared the Citron & Passion – the curd of lemon and passion fruit with marshmallow cookie ice cream. While it sounds really good, unfortunately it wasn’t as good as it sounds. I found it overly powered by the taste of the citrus and lemon. The ice cream was nice but didn’t really add to the dish.

The highlight of the whole meal was the Baked Camembert – half a wheel of baked French Camembert lightly covered in truffle oil and accompanied by Apple chutney next to a bit of greens. The greens are tossed in a light dressing and nicely baked so that the outside was a bit gooey and the inside soft. I combined the apple chutney with the cheese and greens on a cracker – it was absolutely amazing. Any cheese lover will die and go to heaven.

While I am a huge fan of truffle, I often feel that chefs use it to hide the awful taste of a crappy dish. This wasn’t the case. The truffle oil added a nice little extra layer of flavor to the cheese that didn’t over power the apple chutney. The best take on a cheese dish I’ve ever had.

I always say that the staff can really make or break a meal. While our food did take a while to come, the staff was fantastic. Not only did our servers greet us with a smile, but they were always topping up our water (almost to the point where it was a complex). I’ve never seen such attentive staff. The thing that really put me over the top with the staff was the fact that we were dining with my 4.5 month old son.

Taking a baby out to a nice place to eat can be a challenge. And one of the biggest challenges is trying to feed him his milk. We needed to warm up his bottle and usually ask for a bowl of hot water to dip his bottle in to warm it up. This can be a real hassle at times as most restaurants don’t have very deep bowls. The barista realized the glass the waitress had given us was too shallow and wouldn’t work properly for what we needed so she brought is over a small ice bucket with hot water so we could fully submerge the bottle.

Now for those of you without kids this might not seem like a big deal, but the fact she went out of her way to make not only us, but the whole restaurant more comfortable was amazing (no one likes to eat with screaming hungry baby). This is the kind of service you just don’t find in Singapore these days.

Roots is a must try, especially for lunch and brunch. Just be sure to call ahead, with food and service like this, they’re chairs won’t stay empty long. I’m giving them the Juan Pablo stamp of approval.