Think delicious tikka masalas, tandooris, rich vegetarian curry and to-die-for garlic naans – this is just some of what the Expat Living team had to endure when reviewing these top Indian restaurants in Singapore. It was tough but they survived to tell their tales!
A grand doyenne of Singapore’s Indian fine dining scene, Shahi Maharani is the place to go for an introduction to North Indian cuisine. Befitting the lavish meals you’ll have here, the restaurant has an opulent interior that will bring to mind royal dining rooms of bygone eras.
To start off, I went with a popular street food bite that I hadn’t had in years. The papdi chaat ($16) is a light and fresh appetiser that’s served cold. Commonly referred to as Indian nachos, it’s made with fried flour crackers topped with tomatoes, onions and potatoes. The final touch is a lashing of yoghurt and a refreshing mint and tamarind sauce – a perfect light starter for the more hearty mains to come.
Tandoori is undoubtedly the star of the show at Shahi Maharani, so we ordered the tandoori mixed grill ($45). The dish is served rather dramatically – sizzling hot with plumes of steam rising from the massive platter – and showcases tandoori grilled chicken, barramundi fillets, tiger prawns and minced lamb kebabs. While the chicken is a classic, and an excellent example of the dish, the tandoori prawns were the highlight of the platter and packed a nice bit of heat.
No Indian feast is complete without curry, so we made sure to order another specialty – rogan josh ($34). Creamy and subtly spicy, it’s a comforting dish that’s an absolute delight to have with a pillowy soft garlic naan ($8). To keep things from getting too meat-heavy, we ordered a side of palak paneer ($28) as well. The savoury spinach sauce with tender morsels of cottage cheese was a nice change of pace.
Finally, we ordered the ras malai ($12). Creamy and with just the right amount of sweetness, it brought things to a fittingly sweet close.
– Dinesh Ajith
This spot had long been on our list of Indian restaurants to try, and last week we finally managed it. The ambience here is buzzing and the décor is lovely – highly Instagrammable! As we arrived, we found ourselves eyeing some of the amazing creations heading to other tables.
We decided to try one of the signature starters – pani puri ($12). The dish is normally eaten as a street food in India and consists of lightly fried balls of puff pastry filled with spiced mashed potato. It also comes served on the cutest cart, with mint and mango chutney dips in shot glasses. We paired it with potli samosa ($16), a fusion of Chinese bao and traditional samosas filled with lightly spiced asparagus and potato. As we knew we were heading for chicken for our main course, we opted to sample the lamb seekh kebab ($26) served on a hanging rack; we were also told the AFC (ADDA Fried Chicken, $18) is one of their most popular dishes and also a treat.
We can never pass on a chicken tikka masala ($26) and the East Indian version here was gorgeous; we paired it with a fluffy garlic naan ($6). We also opted for the Siliguri mustard prawns ($28) which had been marinated in a creamy mustard paste sauce with five spices. We saved a little room for dessert as we knew we had to try the Indian spiced crème brûlée ($12).
The staff at ADDA are amazing, attentive, caring and super friendly. They also know the menu so well and know what to recommend when it comes to drinks – there’s an extensive cocktail menu and some lovely Indian wines, which was a first for us. We can’t wait to return with friends!
– Jacqui Young
A meal at Rang Mahal starts off ordinarily with some crisp sesame-studded papadums served with tangy chutneys. But then, just when you think this is just a regular Indian restaurant with nothing special up its tandoor oven, Chef Mukesh – who’s been sending out chicken tikka masalas and freshly-made appams since 2019 – hits you with his star dishes. Rang Mahal has also distinguished itself with a spot in the 2021 edition of the Michelin Guide.
With its high ceilings and menu spanning different states, Rang Mahal is every Indophile’s dream. Mukesh himself is from Delhi, and with his team of five sous-chefs, is able to take even the most clueless of diners on a culinary journey. Some of his dishes, like the avocado kebabs ($36), are playfully inventive, but it’s the tricked-up classics – and the breads, oh my god, the breads! – that shine here. Think massive garam masala-spiced lamb cutlets ($48) that are expertly chargrilled to arrive extremely tender to your table. Or puffed-up and pillowy kulchas infused with spice and cheese ($15). And then there’s bharwan mirch ($40): stuffed panko-crusted chillies, swimming resplendently in a lovely green kaffir lime curry and served with a crispy, chewy appam.
India has the culinary diversity of a rainbow, so if you’re not acquainted with some of the dishes, the eager-to-please staff will be happy to clue you in. But, familiar or not, one thing is true: the colours and flavours are vivid, almost surreal. Fun amuse-bouches arrive between courses to cleanse your palate and prepare you for the next tangy-savoury-smoky-spicy symphony. This is all washed down with the restaurant’s decent line-up of single malt whiskeys – or a deliciously rich mango lassi ($15), if you wish.
Of course, no meal is complete without a sweet ending, and the lychee kulfi ($22) is a really fun take on a traditional Indian dessert. This not-overly-sweet homemade milk frostie is served enveloped in billowing liquid nitrogen, and unveiled with a theatrical Bollywood flourish. Well played, Mukesh, well played.
– Louisa Lim
While I adore traditional Indian cooking, I’m just as enthusiastic about modern takes on the cuisine. And the newly-opened Revolver on Tras Street is just the place to go if you’re keen on expanding your ideas of what Indian cuisine can mean.
The first thing you’ll notice here is the restaurant’s industrial chic space that sets the scene perfectly with exposed tandoori grills, copper furnishings and sleek black countertops. The menu is easy to navigate, featuring a trio of lunch and dinner tasting menus curated by Executive Chef Saurabh Udinia – a rising star with experience in the kitchens of exemplary Indian restaurants like Masala Library and Farzi Cafe. For my first foray into Chef Saurabh’s cooking, I thought it appropriate to try the Experience Menu ($199).
The meal starts off on a light note with a dish of stuffed courgette flowers filled with a creamy paneer mash laced with cumin and onion. Despite being a contemporary dish, the taste was familiar. This deep rooting in traditional flavours is a theme that would follow in subsequent dishes like the fresh paneer with Goan sambal.
Our first taste of Revolver’s tandoori offerings was a pair of skewered boneless wings and necks. These moreish bites are finished with lemon juice and fresh coriander and served with a creamy yuzu aioli. The next dish was also from the tandoor – barramundi with raw mango dust. The delicate crust, sprinkled with the mango dust, cracks to reveal perfectly cooked tender fish within. Up next was a wagyu scotch egg. While not a traditional dish at all, the addition of classic Indian spices and a generous dollop of caviar checked all the boxes for me.
The following dish was lobster with pepper garlic butter. Tender and with a hint of white pepper heat, this was the highlight of my evening – and certainly the most visually striking dish. Next on the menu came a Margra lamb chop, and pulled pork and Gruyère kulchette – a cheese-stuffed flatbread topped with a spiced pork mixture.
Because of the perfectly portioned offerings, you’re bound to have room for desserts like the berries with cream and almond tuile. Unabashedly modern, it features aerated saffron cream served with sorbet, fresh berries and an almond tuille – an ideal way to end your culinary adventure.
– Dinesh Ajith
This article first appeared in the November 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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