Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Song of India, Scotts Road

I've been wanting to visit this place (33 Scotts Road, tel: 6836 0055) for a while already and it turned out to be quite the idyllic sanctuary for lunch on a Saturday. Located just at the fringes of the town area in an old bungalow, stepping into this place felt like a reprieve from the urban hubbub. The interior on this quiet Saturday bespoke tranquility which is really also brought onto emphasis by the new aged Middle Eastern/Indian ambient music piping gently in the background (think a less sophisticated Delerium!).

I haven't really heard very much about this place apart from some reviews and the ancient history of the former chef of Rang Mahal, Milind Sovani being the man to helm the kitchen of this place on the mission to showcase modern, yet heritage bound Indian cuisine in an elegant light. The chef was kind enough to accommodate a degustation for lunch even though it's normally available only for dinner. Service in the restaurant was polite and I'm quite glad that the service staff here actually knows about the food that the restaurant serves. I'll skip the rest of the gloss and go straight to the food...

some spicy cracker rolls

amuse bouche of potato cake with mint chutney

spiced foie gras with bean/pine nut salad

This was certainly a differently interpreted foie gras from the usual grilled or pan fried rendition that I had expected. I didn't really expect them to be served in an Indian place but I guess since we're looking at a modern fine dining restaurant here, it's inclusion shouldn't be too much of a surprise. The entire foie gras tasted saltish like a pate and was very, very soft. In fact, I was wondering how it got onto the glass plate as I didn't think that anyone could have moved it without destroying the shape. The piece of liver was as soft as paste. There was the expected rich livery taste, but in terms of texture, I think I would have much preferred the commonly available pan fried variety with a crisp exterior. The accompanying warm salad was pretty good though.

gucchi mushrooms lentil soup laced with truffle oil

The name of this soup caused me to chuckle inwardly initially. The name does sound pretty expensive, but the mushrooms themselves apparently have nothing to do with a similar sounding brand that is often associated with handbags. I'm having some difficulty describing the flavor of the soup here, but it was very good.

soft Awadhi lamb kebabs, tandoor toasted broccoli and peppers, pear, clove chutney

These Awadhi lamb kebabs are suppose to be a form of delicacy, but they didn't quite grow onto me. As kebabs, the portions were quite petite. The slightly crisp shell gave way to a lamb paste which I thought was too soft for my liking. It wasn't the grounded meat that I thought would have been more satisfying. The fragrant tandoor vegetables were certainly much more interesting, as was the bean salad on the side. I must comment that this place seems to do very tasty bean salads.

palate cleanser of lime and passion fruit sorbet sprinkled with cumin

Unexpectedly, this sorbet with cumin was very good. I had initially thought that the taste would be strange to the tongue, but it turned out to be very refreshing as it was suppose to be. The added spice seemed to have created a new airy dimension to the sorbet. I think I should try doing this at home.

lemon chilly lobster, Kerala Moily sauce, asparagus and edamame stir fry

I had gathered that this was suppose to be a signature dish here from their a la carte menu which also indicated them at $55 for a portion. The lobster wasn't quite as juicy or sweet as one would normally expected of a fresh one. The baked meat was actually dry inside and noticeably so despite it being blanketed in the tasty Moily sauce which was thick with coconut flavor. These are the kind of sauces that make you want to eat a lot of naan or rice. Or to mask seafood should they be no so ideal in natural quality taste. But since this was the makeup of the dish, I don't think the intention was the latter. Otherwise, it was quite unimpressive and I found myself liking the stir fried edamame beans and asparagus more than the meat of the lobster. One very noteable item I feel the need to mention is the semolina cake with mustard seeds on the side. It was a slightly sweetish patty with the texture of couscous cooked in soy milk and tasted freshly made like a warm and light moist cake of sorts. Now that was very good. I detect the trend of the sides being much more pleasing to the palate for me than the main focus of the dishes.

The naans are light and quite fluffy but otherwise quite ordinary. Those sesame and saffron flavored ones appeared quite lacking in the taste of saffron, but the sesame seeds did carry through. I would say that they are enjoyable as naans go, but unexceptional otherwise.

garlic and sesame naan with saffron wash

choco chikki torte, vanilla ice cream with cracked pepper, fresh fruits

The choco chikki torte was essentially a sweet and thick chocolate mousse with a praline like base. As with most Indian desserts, this was a tad too sweet and despite the portions, was quite the sugar overload for me. At this point of time, I was actually looking at something along the sides to intrigue me and I found the plain vanilla ice cream with a sprinkle of fine cracked pepper to be quite interestingly good. The fragrance of the pepper is something that one would normally not associate with ice creams, but it turned out to be quite a pleasing pairing which gave the dessert a nice aroma.

This degustation by the Song of India didn't turn out to be as impressive as I had expected. As I had mentioned, the supporting sides did outshine the main for me. Still, it wasn't unenjoyable as a whole and the a la carte menu does contain a few interesting dishes which I've noticed which would probably be unavailable in places like Little India. I could be back just for those.

1 comment:

Chop-s-tick said...

We Love reading your blogs and we would like to invite you to the Song Of India to try our Authentic Indian Cuisine and take a culinary journey thru India.
We would like to share with you our new menu and dishes guaranteed to excite your taste buds. Perhaps after dining with us you will be able to offer new insights to Indian Cuisine to your loyal followers.

Please feel free to contact me at 98765259 and I will be glad and more than happy to arrange a table for you.
Look forward to have you dine with us soon.

With Best Regards

Mohan Raju Krishnan