Fancy a good curry? From classic curries to tapas-style tandoori and tikka fondues, we put some of the island’s best Indian eateries to the test. See what the Expat Living team thought of these Indian restaurants in Singapore.
Contemporary-chic with high ceilings, earth tones and touches of gold, the Rang Mahal dining room is sleek and sophisticated – and take a peek into the beautiful private room! Equally refined is the menu of contemporary takes on Indian classics by award-winning Chef Milind Sovani. The service is excellent, the staff knowledgeable and the wine list massive, which all makes for a great special-occasion spot!
Everything here is delicious (as it should be, with prices this punchy!). Our favourite starters included the perfectly cooked and flavoured ajwaini tandoori black cod ($60) and the creative butter chicken bao ($42) – four soft, steamed buns filled with rich butter chicken. Next time, I’d love to come with a group and try the tandoori fondue – chicken kebabs and naan cubes that can be dipped in cheese sauce with tomato makhni. While I loved the chicken tikka masala ($46), my favourite main was the fish Alleppey curry ($48) – fish fillets in spicy coconut curry; soak up the sauce with some tandoori roti ($9). If you want to try a bit of everything, I’d suggest ordering the “Gourmet Thali” ($108 per person; vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions available), which includes a soup, amuse bouche and a tasting platter with different curries, dhal, veg, rice and naan – the crispy okra is super addicting, and the dal ma dumpukh (black lentils slow-cooked for 48 hours) is also delish. Plus, there’s a dessert selection that includes sinfully good gulab jamun (doughnut-like balls in sugar syrup).
Our favourite of the night was the lahsooni jhinga ($60) starter – four tandoor-grilled prawns in burnt garlic marinade. The large prawns were so juicy and flavourful, we couldn’t get enough!
– Amy Greenburg
With a very authentic setting with traditional live music, this long-standing North Indian family owned restaurant is a great setting for any occasion; the name “maharani”, which means “queen”, captures the beautifully prepared food and atmosphere perfectly. The staff – most of whom are long-term employees – are amazing and attentive.
We started with the tandoori milawat ($42; a tandoori grill selection) Northern fare fit for a queen for a mix of some of the restaurant’s specials, including chicken tikka, sarson machhli (mustard fish curry), lahsuni jheenga (prawn) and seekh kebab, all served on a sizzling platter. For mains, we couldn’t resist the tawa jheenga ($40) – plump, marinated tiger prawns, also served sizzling – and bahshahi keema matar ($30), tasty minced mutton cooked with green peas in a spiced onion base. As a complement, we chose the super-moist shah jahani chicken biryani ($32) served with raita (a cucumber yoghurt sauce). There’s a huge selection of breads to pair with the meal; the stuffed kulcha ($12) with mixed vegetables is gorgeous. Don’t miss the restaurant’s extensive wine list to pair with the dishes!
We managed to save a little room for something sweet, and the dessert platter ($22) fit perfectly. A sampler of four traditional desserts, it includes gulab jamun (deep-fried spheres of thickened milk dipped in rose flavoured, scented syrup), rasmalai (cottage cheese dumplings), carrot halwa (a pudding-type dessert) and “Nutty Delight”, a pistachio, almond and cashew ice cream garnished with peanut brittle.
– Jacqui Young
Located along a row of shophouses in Katong, this casual eatery is a great spot for a meal with friends and family. With simple and modern décor, the restaurant has an open kitchen where you can watch the cooks (from North and East India) at work. There’s also a small play area with some toys to keep little diners entertained.
We started our meal with dahi puri ($6.50); crisp savoury shells filled with chutneys and pomegranate. There are other yummy small bites available, such as chat masala fries ($5) and papadums ($4.50). Of course, we had our go-to North Indian dish – butter chicken ($17), served in a smooth and creamy gravy; we were especially pleased with how tender, juicy and flavourful the chicken was. We paired it with garlic naan ($5), kashmiri naan ($6) and a serving of basmati biryani rice ($5.50). If you love lamb, the popular lamb shank biryani ($25) is a great choice. There’s also a selection of vegetarian curries, along with Western items like burgers and wraps. Before you head off, we’d recommend having a glass of tangy mango lassi ($7.20) and sampling the kulfi ($7) – homemade Indian ice cream.
Star of the evening was the tandoori mixed grill ($30), a delicious selection of chicken tikka, malai tikka, fish tikka and seekh mutton kebab.
– Lindsay Yap
Set in the ground floor of a shophouse in Singapore’s vibrant Kampong Glam district, Flying Monkey’s neon sign at the back of the restaurant will tell you you’re in the right place. A self-proclaimed “Indian tapas bar” with moody, ambient lighting, it makes an equally great spot for drinks and snacks as it does for a date-night dinner.
The menu ranges from a selection of small plates – a perfect pairing with their innovative cocktail menu – to main meals. To start with, we tried the fragrant Calamari 65 ($10), a popular dish originating from Chennai that’s usually made with chicken but in this incarnation features battered squid fried with curry leaves. Next up was the goat cheese tikki ($12), lightly spiced potato and goat cheese patties served with plum sauce – a cool flavour combination.
Mains included dahl mahkni ($22), a curry of chickpea and kidney beans cooked overnight, and nalli ninari ($26) – lamb shank in a rich sauce served with roti. Both had great depth of flavour. Overall, portion sizes are generous, and there’s plenty of vegetarian options to try and share.
The mustard ghobi starter – cauliflower marinated with mustard and charred in the tandoor – really impressed. If cauliflower were cooked that way all the time, I think I’d eat it every day!
– Susannah Jaffer
Upscale and refined, Yantra is for those who prefer a fine-dining Indian experience. The chef, Hemant Oberoi, is a celebrated figure; he’s cooked for everyone from Obama to Brad Pitt. The restaurant’s list of accolades and awards is long, with top marks in the luxury-dining sphere dating back to 2009.
The wine list is impressive, but so is the list of Indian aperitifs like the guava-based Peru Peru ($14), which comes in a chilli powder-lined martini glass. It’s a powerful segue to the Chair Chaat ($16), a traditional dish presented untraditionally atop mango leather and curiously small wooden chairs, and the Guppe Shup ($28), bite-sized semolina “balloon” casings filled with prawn, mutton and chicken. Never have I ever had fondue at an Indian restaurant, and my scepticism was only tempered upon tasting the chicken tikka fondue ($38). When asked what type of cheese was used, two waiters told me “fondue cheese” so even the staff is a bit mystified by the dish. No matter – it worked, and it’s emblematic of the redefined Indian food Yantra is known for. The Martabaan ka meat ($46), slow-cooked lamb curry, is a highlight, but the baingan saraf ($30) was the true standout. This dish of smoky brinjal (eggplant) mash with garlic, ginger, turmeric and green chilli is explosively spicy. For dessert, the malai kulfi popsicle is fun ($20), but I’d recommend the Different Strokes ($22) – a mix of fried jalebi with black pepper and orange essence in a saffron syrup.
– Monica Pitrelli
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