The Oakham Curry Club (OCC) is a well-respected Institution with multiple international franchises. This review of Samy’s Curry being the latest by our Singapore branch
The OCC takes pride in searching out the finest Indian restaurants and providing impartial reviews of Curry Houses all over the world.
Members vote anonymously without being influenced by other members (we call this “no swaying”) on 5 categories, and an average score out of a maximum 10 is given to each restaurant we review.
On Friday 30th November 2018 – The OCC visited Samy’s Curry, Dempsey Road.
Before we get to the review, a brief introduction to Samy’s which was prepared by our Chairman prior to the meet.
A very inconspicuous place, this restaurant hides behind La Fondue like hidden treasure. Samy’s Curry is a family owned business and have been situated in this exact location for 50 years, way before Dempsey road was even developed into the classy restaurant district it is today, being the very first restaurant in Dempsey road. Samy’s Curry gives a totally different vibe from the rest of the restaurants in Dempsey. Whereas other Dempsey restaurants exude a classy, fine-dining atmosphere, Samy’s Curry is more like a canteen with a 80s colonial setting. Stepping in here is like stepping back in time.
For full transparency, see below scores (out of 10). The voting is based on the votes from OCC members. Restaurants must score an average of 7/10 or above to receive the OCC sticker of recommendation. All OCC members have been through a rigorous selection process to gain entry into the Club. In short, we all know our curries.
Customer care: 6.02
Samy’s Curry IS NOT awarded the much-coveted OCC sticker of recommendation, narrowly missing the required 7/10 average
In terms of quality of the food, Samy’s scores well. We ordered a masala chicken, mysore mutton, Aloo gobi, fish head curry, tandoori prawn, curried squid, biryani rice and naan. Most noteworthy for me was the masala chicken and the very crispy poppadoms and delicious gravy and mint sauce we were given when we sat down. Sadly, there were not many poppadoms to serve 6 people and we were not offered any more. We were told by friends that we had to try the fish head curry. Regrettably this was a bit of a disappointment as the flavours of the dish just didn’t stand up to the hype, and at S$28 was the most expensive dish we ordered by some margin. One member commented that it was ‘a bit of a let down given this was supposed to be the signature dish’. Something I haven’t seen elsewhere in Singapore, which was a positive was how all food is served on banana leaves rather than plates and a waiter comes around to individually serve the biryani rice. This was a nice touch and cut down on any rice hogging.
Customer care was the lowest score of the evening. Some confusion around our booking when we arrived was followed up with what felt like an indifference towards seating us. As a group of 6 entering what was at the time a fairly quiet restaurant we would have liked a slightly more personal touch than just having a waiter point at a table. Given that we made it clear we were there to review the restaurant we were surprised that no one checked up on us for the remainder of the meal.
As well as the disappointing customer care, service also wasn’t great unfortunately. The restaurant was starting to fill up and staff did appear to be genuinely busy, but throughout the evening we found ourselves struggling to get the attention of staff and / or waiting on sauces, beers, etc despite asking multiple times. Waiting for food is one thing, beer, slightly more irritating, but a 10 minute wait for a mango lassi after your 3rd raw chilli fine of the evening is OCC rating suicide and ultimately, the poor service cost Samy’s their OCC recommendation.
Value scored quite low with mains averaging around S$15 each but then the disappointment of the S$28 fish head curry which punched up the bill significantly. I suspect that if we had enjoyed this more we may have scored better for value. One member exclaimed that S$90 a head was ‘a bit bl**dy steep!’ but for full transparency, the OCC are a thirsty bunch and we did consume 23 pints of lager between the 6 of us. This made up almost half the bill.
In terms of atmosphere and location, this was a highlight and all members seemed to enjoy the location and ambience. The outside tables are surrounded by trees and plants and it feels like you are eating your dinner in the jungle. Whilst the large open windows allow the noise and din of the restaurant (largely coming from our table) to carry throughout making for a really fun and energetic Friday night atmosphere.
Personally I am a little disappointed that Samy’s didn’t quite pass muster as it has the potential to be a really great curry house. Unfortunately, the service and customer care negatively impacted the experience more than the locale and food enhanced it.
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