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Food

Luckmeow, Maxwell Food Centre: “The Char-grilled Chicken had me breaking my own rules”

Last Updated: December 9, 2020

Written by Ping Er

My trip to Luckmeow at Maxwell Food Centre has been fraught with hiccups and hurdles. A reassignment here, and a change of opening hours there—by the third time I rescheduled this trip, I’d begun to wonder if Luckmeow and I, like star-crossed lovers, were not meant to be. 

True to your typical 2010s YA fiction star-crossed lover’s arc, however, I persevere, and finally make it to the recently opened hawker stall. I swear I haven’t pursued anyone as doggedly as I have Luckmeow.

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Their stall front’s turquoise colour scheme beams like a beacon in an endless row of stalls in this cavernous hawker centre. To complete the theme, the staff wear matching-coloured aprons that all sport their iconic Lucky Cat. In my mind’s eye, I can see the Cat’s moving paw beckoning. 

For a bit of context, Luckmeow’s name plays on the Indian city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, with a little fortune-feline reference. It all falls into place.

Opened by former restaurant chef Pasha Siraj, Luckmeow is a modern take on Indian classics that strives to be wholesome and tasty. 

The second thing you’ll notice here, after the charming colour scheme, are the trays that dispatch with each customer that walks away from the stall. Each tray is custom-emblazoned with ‘LUCKMEOW’ in bright blue and violet font, laden with a vibrant array of small plates.

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That’s another thing that sets them apart—in a serving style that evokes the word ‘tapas’, they’re quite unlike the large one-dish servings at most Indian food establishments that I’ve seen. Each set neatly brings you back to basics, with a bowl of rice, a protein, and vegetables. It’s a reminder of our fundamental units of sustenance while keeping things exciting with regular bursts of surprise.

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For example, your classic Palak Paneer is a healthier rendition that sports a smaller proportion of butter and cream, and tofu instead of cottage cheese. Instead, vegetable puree brings Luckmeow’s Spinach and Tofu to an elegant mildness, as opposed to the blatant full-bodied butteriness that you might initially expect. 

The vegetable dishes are served on a rotating basis. With roughly ten in their repertoire, they change every three to four days. While you’re planning your trip hoping to strike on a lucky day, do check their Facebook page for changes in their opening hours, especially this December 2020.

What I tried

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I get myself a Luckmeow Daily Special (S$6.80). Five little dishes sit in formation on the tray, each containing a vivid and imaginative well of contrasting colours. The servings might be small, but that’s where they get you—you’ll be wanting more (in all the good ways) after you’re done. 

That’s not to say that one set isn’t sufficiently filling. It is, and it does so comfortably. The trick to enjoying your meal here is to pace yourself. Don’t scarf down the rice at an embarrassingly disproportionate speed to the other dishes, and you’re good.

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As a base to this symphony of dishes, the Butter Pilaf offers a steadfast counterpoint to come back to. The rice is pleasantly infused with fragrant spices and washed in a turmeric hue. It helps to balance the rest of the dishes, though it’s milder in aroma than I’d like.

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Meanwhile, there’s a method to the mildness in the Roasted Beetroot On Yogurt. The yogurt provides the starkest sour axis on the entire tray, which I deeply admire. 

In a moment of fecundity, the choice of beetroot proves to ground the palate from getting too carried away with the tang. It’s an earthy contrast—one I didn’t expect to pair so well.

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Holistically, the tray manages to touch a different taste category with each dish. For the Red Cabbage and Winged Bean, it’s bitterness. The combination of nutty, bitter cabbage and spice makes this one of the boldest dishes on the tray.

I’m a fan of winged beans for their funky appearance. If the phrase ‘minding its own business and doing its thing’ could be embodied in a vegetable, it’s got to be in winged beans. You could make fun of them for their alien four-cornered appearance, but that won’t change the fact that they have a crunchiness unmatched even by the likes of celery. I respect that.

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I know I said to pace yourself for a consistent rice-to-dish ratio throughout the meal, but I have to report that I didn’t follow through. 

After sampling a small bite of the Char-grilled Chicken, I left it to the end to finish last, and I’m not sorry about it. With an irresistibly sweet and smoky flavour, there was really nothing I could do to stop myself from savouring it solo after the meal. 

Final thoughts

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Getting to this meal was an exercise in scheduling gymnastics. But the Lucky Cat is there for a reason. It might’ve been hard for Luckmeow and me to meet, but some things are just meant to be. 

Luckmeow will remind you of learning the food pyramid as a child. They have a way, with their fun-sized dishes, to make you feel like they’re catering to every category of your nutrition needs.  And indeed, they do.

Expected Damage: S$4 – S$6.80 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Luckmeow

1 Kadayanallur Street, Maxwell Food Centre, #01-03, Singapore 069184

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Luckmeow

1 Kadayanallur Street, Maxwell Food Centre, #01-03, Singapore 069184

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Operating Hours: 12pm - 2.30pm (Sun to Mon & Wed to Fri), 6pm - 8.30pm (Sat), Closed on Tue

Operating Hours: 12pm - 2.30pm (Sun to Mon & Wed to Fri), 6pm - 8.30pm (Sat), Closed on Tue
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