Monday, September 2, 2013

Yantra: Fine dining, Indian style

Indian cuisine, done fine dining style. And done right, with premium ingredients. But indeed, with a twist. Read on to find out.

Interestingly, dishes are done in a very traditional style. The chef, is classically trained, and the dishes shows. But the use of non-traditional premium ingredients are the special twist that Yantra proposes for the diner.

We started with a special tea...quite interesting white tea, with gold flakes within. Refreshing.

We started with some 5 appetizers. Begining with the Broccoli Cheddar Cheese

What seemed to be like broccoli cakes which are fused with cheese, bell peppers and a pineapple dip. The taste was mild, with the flavours of the brocolli quite apparent and pleasantly fragrant mingling with the rich cheese.

The Akhroat Paneer Tikka was next

This is quite an interesting dish. Cottage cheese, which are traditional to Indian cuisine is stuffed with a crunchy walnut, coated with cardamon and mace flavoured creamy marinade. Then cooked in a tandoor. Again a mild flavoured dish, but rather nice in tantlising the tastebuds to get the appetite going.

A chicken dish...called Bombay Tawa Chicken is also part of the appetizer spread

A skewered chicken breast is grilled with curry leaves and mustard. I found this to be quite delicious. The spices blending beautifully with the still juicy chicken.

Though the next dish looked like a chilli, it was actually the Mirchi Kebab

Minced chicken, marinated with coriander, chillies and cumin and stuffed with the chilli. Quite tasty, and not very spicy at at all.

And my favourite of the day's appetizer...the Mutton Pepper Fry

Truly superb. Lamb is used, despite the name. Stir fried with onion rings, black pepper and cumin. Absolutely good tasting!

Then, the mains

The Dum ki Bhindi

A dum preparation from the kitchens of Nawab of Hyderabad. Very tasty, magnificent blend of spices. The ladies fingers (bhindi) is soft, tender and very fragrant.

Next, asparagus and purple potato zeera fry

Asparagus, a vegetable not normally found in Indian cuisine, and purple potato is another ingredient I don't associate with Indian...though the cooking method of frying with white cumin and brown garlic is truly traditional. Triumph to the chef who manage to blend such disparate ingredients together. The dish is very nice tasting. For me, a touch more spice would be more interesting, but my lunch companions felt it was ok.

Another unusual ingredient for Indian food...oysters...and yet another twist.

Shucked oysters tossed in tandoori marinade and an ice cream made from green chillis!

Interesting, and a high eye brow raising factor indeed...this is the first I have heard of chilli ice cream. Tastewise, the baked oysters were rather normal tasting...and the thrill of the chilli ice cream did not really last beyond the novelty factor...though truth be told, it was not wierd but the cold provided an interesting counterpoint to the rich oysters.

A very interesting fish dish was next Nilgiri Halibut

I found this to be a very nice combination. The halibut is lightly and expertly grilled, and a layer of coriander, spinach gravy provided ample support with very delicate flavours. A winning dish.

The next dish looked like a curry, with gravy only, but it was indeed the Murg Dhaniya Korma

Very mild curry, very tender chicken. Smooth, fragrant dish.

And what was for the highlight of the meal...the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

Done dum style, with a piece of naan sealing the pot, and cut open at the table by the server. As the naan is opened, the fragrance of the spices releases into the room...instantly causing salivation.

The lamb is beautifully marinaded, and the long grain basmati rice is wonderfully fragrant. A bit greasy, but this was as it is meant to be. A rich, tasty, fragrant meal. Truly magnificent, and one of the best I have eaten outside of India.

A rather English like dessert was served...though with a decidedly Indian name of Khubani ka Meetha

A jam of apricots with apricot kernals and fresh cream on a shortbread crust. The apricots were marvellously well done. Very nice.

Overall, a very interesting tasting. Magnificent cooking by the chef de cuisine Iqbal. Thanks to Sheryl of Huntington Communications and Dhamendra and Chef Iqbal for the invitation to taste and the wonderful hospitality.

Yantra Restaurant
163 Tanglin Rd, 247933
6836 3088

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