We'd originally planned on hitting up Samy's Curry for lunch, but alas, they were closed. Luckily, there was The Muthu's Flavours (yes, they are affiliated to the famed Muthu's Curry chain) just around the corner in the Dempsey Hills enclave, so we got to have our Indian food fix afterall.
Despite a modern sleek interior swathed in black and punctuated with bright orange hues, the food at this South Indian stalwart has stayed grounded, traditional, and authentic. In addition to modernising its decor and branding, The Muthu's Flavours has branched out into North Indian cuisine; a fantastic way of drawing in the chilli-averse, as North Indian fare tends to be less potent than its Southern counterpart.
For easy reference, I'll sequence the dishes in order of spiciness, starting from the mild to the stomach-churning ones at the end.
Their Naans, a trio of the Plain ($3), Garlic ($4) and Cheese ($4) varieties, were perfect foils for soaking up the addictive curries. Chewy and fresh, these were imbued with a delectably smoky fragrance from the tandoor oven.
The Paalak Paneer ($9), with cubes of homemade cottage cheese dunked into a smooth-as-silk pureed spinach was nicely balanced between the bittersweet and sour, but a little pedestrian.
We all loved the sunny Cabbage Thoran, sweet and so scrumptious in its simplicity. Suffice it to say, I got seconds and thirds of this.
The Yellow Daal ($8.50), studded with dried chillis and cumin seeds, was mellow, mushy and delicate.
The Biryani Rice ($4 per pax), laced with peas and cashews for crunch, was fragrant but surprisingly spicy.
The Aloo Gobi ($8), stir-fried potatoes and cauliflower lightly spiced and flavoured with cumin was excellent as well.
The Butter Chicken ($12) was possibly the least spicy curry of them all. Here, barbecued chicken chunks were dunked in a creamy, buttery, mildly spiced gravy.
The Mutton Mysore ($11) stir-fried with chilli, coriander powder and cashews, was just superb. The mutton was executed with finesse, devoid of the scent of game and incredibly moist and tender.
The meltingly tender Curry Mutton ($11) was fried with an aromatic garlicky ginger curry paste.
The Chicken Tikka ($12), boneless chicken rich in a yoghurt-tandoori spiced marinade was grilled to a succulent, juicy perfection. Deceptively mild-looking, it packed quite a mean right hook.
The Chicken Tikka Masala ($12) was basically chicken tikka dunked into a punchy, complex tomato-garlic based curry.
The meaty Fish Head Curry ($27 for medium) was tempered with tamarind for a slightly piquant spiciness, and dotted with okra and pineapples for contrast.
The Chicken Masala ($5 per piece) was tongue-numbingly spicy. Its thick, paste-like curry gravy kept the chicken hunks all moist and tender, so even the breast pieces were a joy to eat. No scrambling for the thighs here!
Blk 7 Dempsey Road #01-01
Tel: 6474 5128
Open daily from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 10pm for dinner