Flavors of India by Nirvana
I once got a flier to this place (61 Stamford Road #01-07, 6333-9479) not long ago that cited all sorts of lavish praise from the likes of the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. The Australia Post apparently even called it the "World's Best Curry House." And the menu included North Indian kebabs, vindaloo, and even one chaat dish. With all that at stake, I knew I had to come check it out. It's an interesting place. On the ground floor they have an "Indian Bistro & Chai Bar," whatever that means. They took us up to the second floor though, which is billed as "fine dining"...an appropriate description given the posh decor.
While they didn't have a full chaat menu, they did have a Tangy Potato Chat, which was decently good, even if it seemed a bit like an Indian version of potato salad. Then we got the Murg Tandoori, which wasn't quite a kebab like the waiter had told me, but nonetheless it was marinated in yogurt (ever since Bukhara left Singapore, I've been trying to find a yogurt-marinated kebab simlar to their murgh malai kebab). It was decently tender and tasty, even if it still wasn't Bukhara.
Finally, we got a vindaloo and the Shahi Persian Pilaf, or saffron rice cooked with butter, fried onions, and orange peel. The vindaloo was disappointingly mild, but was admittedly still pretty exquisite. And while I didn't care to much for the sweet orange peel in the rice, it was fairly buttery and definitely rather sophisticated. On the drinks side, the lassi was probably one of the thickest that I've had (almost like a milkshake), while the Punjabi tea was probably the richest.
What's interesting is that this is the sister restaurant of Nirvana and Moti Mahal, and I suspect that all that press coverage is actually for one of those restaurants rather than this place (this one only opened in September). The waiter did say that there are some common menu items across these restaurants (it looks like they have some locations in Poland, Canada, and Brazil too?).
Anyway, this was all worth coming for. Even if not everything was exactly what I had hoped for, I can definitely see why this place got so much praise (and the decor here would make it worthy of a business lunch...at fairly reasonable prices, I might add). I do plan to come by and try some of those dishes that the Wall Street Journal allegedly claimed to be "enough to bring a visitor back to Singapore": the Shan E-delhi and Noor Jahani, both in some kind of a cream sauce. I'm also hoping that their Dhal Makhni is like Bukhara's dhal with the ghee in the middle...mmm...