By: Monica Pitrelli
9A Duxton Hill
You know the drill: you’re signing the bill at a hyped-up new restaurant, feeling a palpable overall disappointment about the place. Again.
Eating at this restaurant is the opposite of that.
Duxton’s “first Indian restaurant” to hit the neighbourhood is actually Indian flavours (read: spices) with Euro ingredients and cooking techniques. Was I sceptical? Beyond. And what’s wrong with the vast world of Indian food as is?
Turns out, there is nothing wrong with Indian food – it’s just that many others are doing it, of course. But no one else is doing a Tasting of Mushroom ($18) appetiser in the form of a spoonful of frozen masala mushroom powder parfait (created with liquid nitrogen), a bowl of yoghurt-marinated tandoori ’shrooms and a tantalising velouté of shiitake, porcini and button mushrooms – it was the latter dish which kicked all doubts about this restaurant right out the door.
Foie gras is not something you’d associate with the Indian sub-continent. But the kasoor methi-seared version here ($36), marinated with fenugreek leaf and topped with spicy stewed raw mango and a generous splash of aam panna might just have the power to convert a billion or so. And never, ever have I seen duck on the menu at an Indian restaurant, so it took some pretty smooth talking to convince me to risk my main course on the Duck Chettinad ($38), a sous-vide cooked dish served Tamil Nadu-style on rava upma, or semolina, topped with grapefruit wedges. It was outstanding.
For every contemporary dish layered with spheres and soil, there’s a traditional dish like biryani and paneer kebabs. But those dishes aren’t really the point here. Fight the urge to order as usual, and this much-hyped new restaurant will deliver as promised.
Must-try Dish: Duck Chettinad