Sari Ratu serves authentic Nasi Padang out of a row of low shop houses along Pahang Street in Kampong Glam, the hub of Nasi Padang stalls in Singapore. In Malaysia and Singapore, sometimes any stall selling rice with a variety of Malay dishes may be referred to as selling Nasi Padang. However, authentic Nasi Padang is a cuisine of the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is characterised by the heavy use of spice mixture and coconut milk. Gulai, a rich, spicy and succulent curry-like sauce, features prominently in Padang dishes.
Sari Ratu is simply decorated. The restaurant is quite small but neat, air-conditioned and comfortable. You can choose to sit outside along the narrow walkway.
Walk into the restaurant and you would be immediately greeted by the scent of spices and faced with an array of delicious looking food in a glass counter. The system at Sari Ratu is that you simply go to the food counter and point out what you want. You can order a variety of dishes to share or you can choose to have an individual plate of rice topped with various items of your choice. You can bring the food to your table yourself or have one of the staff help you. You will be given a chit which records what you have ordered and you go up to the cashier to pay after the meal.
We had individual plates of white rice ($1). A plate was topped with Beef Rendang ($4), Sambal Goreng Tahu Tempe – $1 (stir fried Bean Curd, Tempe and Long Beans) and Telur Gulai – $1.50 (hard boiled egg in spicy sauce).
For the other, we had Ayam Kampong Gulai – $5 (curry chicken), Sayur Lodeh ($1) and stir fried bean spouts ($1). A teh tarik was $1.50. We also ordered a Shanghai Juice for $5.
The beef rendang was delicious. The gravy was very thick. It was well cooked such that the spices were imbued into the meat so that you can taste complex flavours with each bite. The ayam gulai was fragrant, rich and mildly spicy. The taste of a mixture of spices such as turmeric and coconut milk was clearly discernible. The other side items we tried did not disappoint.
We did not know what to expect when we ordered the Shanghai Juice. It looked interesting on the wall poster. When it arrived we realised that it was essentially ice kachang with fruit cocktails. Shaved ice was packed densely to form a tower. Broad beans, chendol and canned fruits cocktails were added and then generously drizzled with colourful sugar syrup. It was a case of good looks but average taste. We still could not figure out why it is named Shanghai Juice.
Sari Ratu has a wide variety of dishes prepared in authentic Padang style and the standard of the food is quite good. It is popular and can get very crowded. If you like to have a simple authentic Nasi Padang meal in Singapore in an unpretentious setting with air-conditioned comfort, Sari Ratu Restaurant at Pahang Street is a good option.
Food : 4
Value : 3
Atmosphere : 3
Overall Rating : 3 TOPs
20 Pahang Street
Tel: +65 6294 9983
Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Nearby Stations : Bugis, Nicoll Highway