Indian cuisine...so good when they get it right. I long for the magnificent meals I had in India, even though the cuisine does travel rather well. I have had great Indian meals in London, New York, Malaysia, Singapore and even in Geneva. So it is with pleasure for me to review an old favourite - Tandoor at the Holiday Inn City.
An old establishment, holding court for some 28 years as one of the premier Indian restaurants in town, it was recently renovated, and the menu refreshed.
Renovated, now brighter than before. Cooking is still classical, but slightly modified to be less heavy, less greasy, and all the more healthy.
Traditional papadams, oven roasted.
A sourplum drink...very refreshing, perfect to start the evening
We had the Dinner Gourmet Trail at $68+++, and started with Samosa
Regular samosas...tasted very nice...but I was slightly...emphasis on slightly...disappointed as it was not served piping hot.
Next, a rich chicken soup with fresh mint...with a spiced scallop on a skewer on the side
Served at the table, a la Michelin, the soup was very nice. Beautiful, rich, very tasty broth. The bits of chicken, very tasty too. Great soup!
Then a series of 4 kebabs as appetizers.
From left, the Jalapeno corn kebab, Murg Lemongrass Kebab, and Malmali Seekh Kebab. I particularly liked the minced mutton sheekh kebab...rolled on a skewer and grilled in a tandoor. Juicy meat, beautifully flavoured, and wonderful fragrance. The Jalapeno corn kebab was also very interesting. The jalapeno had a nice bite, and went well with the corn. The Murg lemongrass was made of morsels of chicken, flavoured with lemongrass and grilled to perfection.
A jumbo prawn, spiced with chilli, honey and delicately flavoured with dill leaves was also served
The prawn was very fresh, succulent. I found it to be a bit sweet, testament to the honey used in the marinade.
Then came the mains...but first, one of their signature drinks...the Bollywood Belini...
Champagne, combined with a mixture of lychee and raspberry. Very nice, ingenious mix. Relieves the palate and gets it ready for the main courses...of which there were 6!
First, the Goan Fish Curry
The fish, ocean perch was marinaded, cooked in a tandoor, and served on a hot plate. The coconut curry is poured over the fish at the table. This was one of my favourite dishes in India, and the Tandoor version brought back memories of my wonderful experiences in Mumbai eating this dish. Very good. The fish was very fresh, beautifully marinated. My only nit pick was that the fish was slightly overcooked...mind you, this is very slight...and regular readers would know that I prefer my fish slightly undercooked...which demands super fresh fish, so take this minor nit pick with this in mind.
A magnificent lamb curry, called Nalli Gosht
Lamb shanks were used. Very tender - melts in your mouth is a catchphrase, but in this case is totally apt. The curry was very mild flavoured. Delicious.
A wonderful chicken dish was next
A dum cooked chicken, infused with Indian spices, saffron and mace. Very nice indeed. The fragrance wafts into the nose before one puts the chicken into the mouth. And once on the palate, the flavours reveals itself, each of the spices with its calling card, and the chicken itself was...like the catchphrase...melt in your mouth tender.
A dhal was also part of the mains served
Dhal makani: black lentils slow cooked with tomatoes, garlic and with butter and cream. Very smooth, rich. Not the best I have eaten, but very good indeed. And perfect for the basket of Indian breads
and the magnificent basmati rice, with saffron
The mains on my plate, each a small serving good for a bite or two.
With a serving of Palak Paneer...cottage cheese with spinach and a unique invention of the chef...the Mango curry...a dish inspired by the chef's grandmother trying to get the children to eat more vegetables, and truly successful.
Another cocktail was served...chai mojito
Masala infused Barcadi rum with a home made sugar syrup with fresh mint and coriander. Churned through crushed ice and topped with soda and garnished with fresh mint and lime wedge. Great drink!
And finally, dessert...a trio medly of Baily's Kulfi, rose and elainchi pana cotta and Gajar Halwa
Sweet! I particularly liked the kulfi...traditional Indian ice cream, but with Baily's Cream. The Gajar Halwa is very traditional, sweet. Kin loved the panna cotta...which was rose infused, and delicious.
A fitting tribute to the new chef Sujit Naik
The menu is traditional northern Indian, and the cooking very good indeed. The new decor is bright, lively and truly modern.
Many thanks to Cheryl of Ate Consulting for hosting and inviting me for the tasting. And to Chef Naik for his excellent cooking. Truly enjoyable dinner. Kin loved it so much, she returned with her friends the very weekend for her school reunion. And the girls loved it too!
Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre
11 Cavenagh Road