L.A. Lunch this month was at Rang Mahal for some delectable Indian cuisine. I don't recall ever having Indian food for any of our L.A. lunches or dinners before, so this was quite a treat. Mr Marathon Man was lamenting that he eats Indian food at home everyday and had cheekily suggested that we pay him the L.A. allowance budget and go to his home to have Indian food instead. For the record, we didn't.
Rang Mahal is one of the oldest, fine-dining, award-winning restaurants in Singapore focusing on North Indian cuisine. And it's little wonder why, their food is exquisite and consistently good. Of course, this all comes at a price commensurate with the experience and ambience of one of Wine & Dine's and Singapore Tatler's Best Restaurants since 2000.
We opted for their Lunch Buffet ($45 per person) but supplemented the buffet with a couple of dishes from the ala carte menu. The first of which was the Portobello Mushrooms ($28), stuffed with cheese and grilled to perfection in the tandoor. I love portobello mushrooms. Juicy, cheesy and utterly delicious.
The other ala carte dish was the Samarkand Prawns ($40), ginormous prawns dry-rubbed with tandoori spices and stuffed with freshly shredded crabmeat and also grilled in the tandoor oven. Look at that gorgeous char.
The buffet, while limited in variety, made up for it in quality. Each dish was so good it could have been from the ala carte menu. They were all delicately spiced and such an explosion of flavours. My favourite's the Tandoori Salmon Tikka, enhanced with mustard and lemon. The oily omega three-rich fish was moist, aromatic and rich in flavour.
The Panchkkuti Dal of slow cooked mixed lentils was delicately spiced, chunky and thick.
Little ramekins were provided to scoop the various curries into.
The Dal was fabulous on its own or when paired with the crisp Pappadoms, also lightly spiced and slightly peppery.
The Naans were also fluffy, well-charred and so fragrant. These were practically good enough to eat on their own.
Other curries included the Dum Aloo Benarasi, baby potatoes simmered in light tomato, cashew and onion gravy. This yellow-ish curry was very light and not spicy at all. I liked how delicate this was.
I wasn't a fan of the Paneer Makhani, cottage cheese simmered in tomato gravy and dried fenugreek. The sour flavour of the cottage cheese just clashed with the piquant tomato and spiced curry.
The Jeera Pulao, cumin tempered basmati rice was a hit. The unassuming long-grained rice was fluffy, nutty and peppery. I would have had more of this if not for the fact that I had to review a long contract in the afternoon.
I loved the Prawn Masala, fresh crunchy prawns in a fiery thick masala paste. The only downside was that the whole dish was laced with coriander! Suffice to say, I had to painstakingly scrape the coriander bits off the prawns.
The Palak Gosht, a classic lamb dish with spinach was an unexpected surprise. I'm not really a fan of lamb because it can be quite gamey but this was handled very well. The lamb was tender and had none of that gamey taste, with spinach adding a refreshing element to the curry dish.
The Beetroot Tikki, tawa (cast-iron griddle) seared beetroot patties, was a cheerfully-hued and tasty appetiser.
I didn't really take to the Kurkuri Karela of crispy fried bittergourd, mostly because I'm not a fan of the vegetable.
The Eggplant at the Live Tawa Cooking Station was not bad. Indian spices were dry-rubbed onto the eggplant for added flavour and heat.
There were chili paste and garlic condiments available as additional toppings for the eggplant.
Indian food isn't just about curries and meat. Colourful fresh veggies with an Indian twist of lady's fingers, carrots, and musclun greens also make up their diet.
The Chickpea Salad and Raita provided a refreshing and soothing edge to the spice of the main dishes.
Indian desserts are definitely not for the faint hearted. They are catered to the extreme tastebud. The Kala Jamun, deep fried cottage cheese soaked in rose and sugar syrup was so incredibly sweet that the sugar rush you get can probably rival an Energizer Bunny on steroids.
This was countered by this extremely sour dessert, I took a spoonful, made a face and couldn't take a bit of this. (I can't remember its name though, any help?)
My favourite dessert was the light-as-air Chocolate Mousse. I'm not a fan of chocolate, but this was so light and so nuanced I didn't mind that it was chocolate.
The Chocolate-Coated Strawberry was a hit with my female colleagues, mainly because it was a strawberry and it was dipped in chocolate.
The Fruit Medley of blueberries, melons, papayas, honeydew and grapes. I love blueberries. Yum.
The Vanilla Ice-Cream was simple but classic.
Level 3 Pan Pacific Singapore
7 Raffles Boulevard
Tel: 6333 1788
Lunch from 12noon to 2.30pm (except Saturdays)
Dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm