Thursday, February 10, 2011

Delhi Restaurant: Chinese Indian Cuisine?

Delhi of the few Chinese Indian Restaurants in Singapore...the phenomena of Chinese Indian food is one which is quite common in India. I have seen many such establishments in Mumbai and Delhi. These restaurants offer Indian cuisine and blends, fuse with more traditional Chinese cuisine. The result is a very special kind of Indian food. I don't think we can mistake it for Chinese food in any way, but a special fusion cuisine.

I happen to love this style of cooking. One of my favourite places to eat this is at The Copper Chimney - a cheap but very good cafe style place right downtown in Shenton Way.

Another such restaurant is Delhi Restaurant in Race Course Road. The decor is rather interesting, with a home made chandelier from colorful parasols

Interior shot showing parasol chandelier at Delhi Restaurant

The highlight for me in this restaurant is their very special mixed grill.

Brandy flambe of mixed grill at Delhi Restaurant

A mixed plate of meats - mutton, fish, prawns and some vegetables and potato is grilled in a tandoor oven. Then transferred while still hot onto a sizzling hot plate which has been prepared with a very special blend of spices...very hot! The concoction is served at the table, and the waiter pours in a pack of brandy and flambes the dish!

Mixed grill at Delhi Restaurant

The result is wonderful. The brandy imbues a tinge, only a very small hint of its presence with the aroma and fragrance of a cognac...but the flambe causes a very smokey flavour to permeate. The spices, mixed in torches the tongue in yet another, spicy. And the meats are cooked just right. The prawns and fish is fresh. The mutton tender. Highly recommended dish!

We also had the butter chicken

Butter Chicken at Delhi Restaurant

A bit unusual, this dish was a bit sweeter than I would have ideally liked. I love the butter chicken at Mirchi's, as I have written twice on that restaurant. But here, the chicken is very tender. Not quite fall off the bone, disintegrate on prodding with your fork tender...but very nice, with still some structure, and bit of bite. But still smooth, creamy. Just a tad too sweet for my taste.

I have loved the Goan Fish Curry served at the ill fated Lobby restaurant at the Oberoi Mumbai...which was the scene of the shootings some years ago. I have actually stayed at both the Oberoi and at the Taj Palace where these atrocities were committed. And the Goan White Promfret Curry at the Oberoi restaurant is truly amazing. A wonderful blend of the richness of coconut milk, with a touch of tamarind to pick up the taste. And superb fresh white promfret - smooth, rich, creamy almost, and ultra fresh. Wonderful dish.

I was hoping for something similar at Delhi, and was presented with this version:

Goan Fish Curry from Dory fish fillet at Delhi Restaurant

In Singapore, I usually avoid white promfrets as they are usually not super fresh. And quite high in cholesterol. I figured, with the cholesterol budget it demands, I am better avoid white promfret unless it is super fresh. Indeed perhaps the chef of Delhi knows this as well, as he offers the curry with Dory fillets. Compared to the Oberoi's, this curry was thicker, sweeter. For me, no challenge to the standard set by Mumbai, but this fish curry was still very good. Again, the issue for me was the sweetness which slightly hampers my complete enjoyment.

We also had the Ghobi Manchurian:

Ghobi Manchurian at Delhi Restaurant

Ghobi is cauliflower...and in this dish, it is coated with a special batter, deep fried and coated with a wonderful spicy gravy. The batter is slightly crispy, and slightly springy, and provides nice contrasting texture to the soft, tender cauliflower. And the sauce provides the punch in the form of spices and heat.

The meal was accompanied by plain basmati rice - long grain Indian basmati. Very fragrant, dry and for me ideal for curries. And also a basket of garlic and plain naans.

Basket of garlic and plain naan at Delhi Restaurant

The naans were acceptable. But nowhere as fluffy and fragrant as those served by Mirchi or in India.

For me, the highlight was the mixed grill, including the spectacle of the flambe on the table. The other dishes were ok, but not spectacular. Would I return? yes, for the mixed grill, and perhaps to sample another dish.

Service was excellent, though the server either had difficulty communicating in English or was not totally well versed with the menu offerings. He had to run to the kitchen to clarify the dishes several times. But he was very attentive, very polite and had a great smile.

Delhi Restaurant
60 Race Course Road Singapore
Tel: +65 6296 4585
Daily: 11.30 – 3pm, 6pm – 11.30pm
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