« Home | Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum » | It ain't so bad, being a cow » | Katie Reider » | The children of COSI » | Old Market, Siem Reap » | A vadai with your meal? » | Uniquely Singaporean 1 » | Memories of Bali » | Dismembered kitten » | JuGs » 

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 

Lunch at The Song of India

Not one to pass up on an opportunity to go Indian, I happily lugged my camera bag and hearty appetite down to The Song of India when a lunch invitation unexpectedly appeared.

Located near the heart of Orchard Road in a pre-war conservation house, its idyllic setting could make it hard to locate especially when its facade is partially hidden by a sheltered walkway and set a little distance away from the main road. The entrance to its parking lot (complimentary valet parking available) is nondescript and sports a rather small signboard hinting at the presence of a dining establishment.

Ascending its rather steep front steps, patrons are immediately transported to a small anteroom flanked by an impressive wine collection on either side. The wines have been meticulously selected and paired by a sommelier and they come in a range of prices. There's always something for every wallet.

The main dining room is decked out in understated oppulence. Roman pillars and plush cushions, alongside large windows, modern seating and elegant tables all make for a cosy yet sufficiently sophisticated setting. The restaurant has 2 private dining rooms, the smaller of which is pictured above. The larger room is decorated like a dining room found in an English manor, a little dry and boring in my opinion but the smaller room with its modern setting appealed to me.

Now, on to the grub. August 15th just so happened to be the Indian Independence Day so the first course was decked out to a national theme (in the colors of the Indian flag for the uninitiated). This is where I'm going to fail miserably as a food critic (I'm a photo blogger turned food blogger wannabee). Due to poor note taking, I have no idea what this is except it looked like 3 layers of something which tasted vaguely of coconut and tapioca that was stabbed by a sharp object and bleeding profusely. I appreciated the visual beauty of the dish but it didn't quite work with my tastebuds.

The kitchen is led by Chef Sovani, originally the head chef at Rang Mahal. 7 other chefs work under him and each specialise in food from a particular region of the vast Indian continent. One of these prepared this appetizer course consisting of Gilawnt Kebab and Saunf Wale scallop. The soft pan-seared lamb kebab done in a Lucknavi style tasted strangely like foie gras. The scallop which was marinated with fennel and cumin was a little too fragrant did not seem to work for me.

Next up was another salvo of appetizers consisting of Lasoori Jahinga (garlic prawn), Tulsi Murgh (basil chicken), and a white bean salad. The prawn was fiery and tasty, and the chicken was done just right, flavorful yet subtle. The bean salad I should've skipped as it was a little on the tough side. You can see how the chefs take great pains in the presentation of the food, fashioning what looked like a little bonsai plant out of parsley and a pastry for a trunk. All planted onto the bean salad which looked and tasted like a pot of rocks. Notice how an errant ikura roe has slid to one side, that was me and not the chefs... a food stylist I am not.

I'm a great lover of lamb and can often be swayed by the presence of a great lamb course even if the rest of the meal was mediocre. The lamb which showed up at our table next was perhaps one of the finest lamb curries I've had. Nalli Ghosht, or lamb shank in a secret Lucknavi sauce, was expertly done and presented in a crude but strangely appealing manner. The waiter took great care in balancing the three shanks and I could almost hear a sigh of relief when he finally set it on the table. I'd recommend you ask your server to cut these up for you because eating meat from the bone like you would in Soup Tulang isn't an endeavor to be taken in such elegant surroundings. The meat itself was succulent and tender. The wonderful flavors exploded with each bite and I was in food heaven. I think this dish alone made this dining experience a memorable one.

I thought a separate mention for the roti which accompanied the lamb shank was in order. Served in a rather odd manner in a shot glass, the heat from the roti created condensation in the glass and caused some bits of the roti to moisten. Not a good presentation idea but the roti itself was as good as the lamb. It contained an oddly robust meaty flavor and was a delicious accompaniment to the Nalli Ghosht.

The rest of the mains consisted of a Chettinad prawn curry, basmati rice and more roti. The prawn curry is not for the faint of heart. Prepare your senses for a very spicy experience. I was almost in tears by the time I made my way through my one and only prawn. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious as it was spicy. I was pretty amazed that the spiciness did not mask the flavors of the seasoning nor of the prawn itself.

The meal ended with a Malai kulfi on a stick and Choco Chikki torte (with a praline base), all topped with a warm cup of Masala tea. I can always appreciate a good kulfi especially after attempting to make some myself a couple of years ago. It's a fairly easy process but getting the right consistency can be rather tricky. This kulfi was good, very good. Not overly sweet as most kulfis go, but just nice.

Our party was quite charmed by the attentive service and wonderful surroundings, though all this come at a price. Mains are in the $15-$50 range, and desserts from $11. Weekday set lunches start from $28 and I think this represents fairly good value. There is a weekend champagne brunch starting soon at $89 per diner, with free flow of beverages (alcoholic and non) with your buffet spread, a great deal especially if you drink like a fish. Check them out at...

The Song of India
33 Scotts Road
Tel: 6836-0055

Labels: ,

About me

  • I'm Mr Sanguine
  • From Singapore, Singapore
My profile

My ipod top weekly plays

mrsanguine's Last.fm Weekly Artists Chart

Subscribe in Bloglines
Subscribe in FeedLounge