Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Song of India, Scotts Road

I've been wanting to visit Song of India (33 Scotts Road, tel: 6836 0055) for a while. It turned out to be quite the idyllic sanctuary for lunch on a weekend. Located just at the fringes of town in an old bungalow, stepping into this place felt like a reprieve from the urban hubbub. The restaurant on a quiet Saturday spelled tranquility. A tranquility enhanced by 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. The man helming the kitchen of the restaurant 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 was normally available only for dinner. Service in the restaurant was great. I was also glad that the wait staff actually knew about the food that the restaurant was serving. 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. I didn't expect foie gras to be served in an Indian restaurant but I guess since it's a modern fine dining restaurant, the inclusion shouldn't be too much of a surprise. The entire liver tasted salty, much like a pate and was very, very soft. So soft that I was wondered how they had gotten it onto the glass plate without destroying it. There was the requisite rich livery flavour, but in terms of texture, I would have much preferred the pan fried variety that has a crisp exterior. The warm salad on the side 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 sounded pretty expensive, but the morel mushrooms in them have nothing to do with a similar sounding brand that is often associated with handbags. I'm not sure how to describe the flavour, 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. They didn't quite grow onto me. As kebabs, the portions were quite small. The slightly crisp shell gave way to a lamb paste which I thought was too soft. It wasn't the grounded meat that I had thought they would be. Those would have been more satisfying. The fragrant tandoor vegetables were much more interesting as was the bean salad on the side. It seemed that these guys do very tasty bean salads.

palate cleanser of lime and passion fruit sorbet sprinkled with cumin

This sorbet with cumin was very good. I had initially thought that the taste would be strange but it turned out to be very refreshing as it was suppose to be. The spice seemed to have created a new airy dimension to the sorbet. I think I should try making 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 that they were running at $55 for a portion. The lobster wasn't as juicy or sweet as one would normally expect for a fresh one. The baked meat was dry inside and noticeably in spite of it being blanketed in the tasty Moily sauce. That sauce though,was thick with coconut flavor. The kind of sauce that make you want to eat a lot of naan or rice. Or to mask seafood should they be not be fresh. But since this was the makeup of the dish, I don't think the intention was the latter. It was quite unimpressive and I found myself liking the stir fried edamame beans and asparagus more than the lobster. What was mention worthy was the semolina cake with mustard seeds on the side. It was a slightly sweet with the texture akin to couscous, cooked in soy milk and tasted freshly made. Like a warm and light tasting moist cake of sorts. That was very good. I detect the trend of the sides being much more tasty than the main items.

The naans were light and quite fluffy but otherwise quite ordinary. Those sesame and saffron flavored ones lacked flavour from saffron but the sesame seeds got their flavours through. Enjoyable as naans go, but otherwise unexceptional.

garlic and sesame naan with saffron wash

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

The choco chikki torte was a thick chocolate mousse with a praline base. As with many Indian desserts, I found it too sweet. And in spite of small the portions, was quite the sugar overload for me. At this point, I was actually searching for something along the sides to intrigue me. See where I'm heading? I found the vanilla ice cream with a sprinkle of fine cracked pepper to be quite good. The fragrance from pepper wasn't something one would normally associate with ice creams, but it turned out to be 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 hoped. As I've said earlier, the accompanying sides outshone the mains. Still, it wasn't unenjoyable as an experience. The a la carte menu looked interesting. Stuff that you probably cannot find in Little India. I could come back to try 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