Situated in an old colonial building, decorated in a classical lavish style, the 8 year-old Song of India has achieved two things recently: it introduces a new buffet lunch (M-Sat $29.90, Sun $39.90) and it has revamped its menu.
The buffet changes regularly and is very good value, with about 6-8 hot dishes, serving traditional Indian food, both vegetarian and non-, such as Goan fish curry, butter chicken, paneer taka tak (cheese), and nilgiri korma (mixed vegetables). There are also some desserts.
The chicken dum biryani is the BEST I have ever eaten. The chicken is extremely tender with a smoky aroma, and the bismati rice is fluffy and not dry! The buffet is worth the price just for the biryani alone.
For dinner, there are set menus starting from $48+, but the most popular set is Journey Through India ($97 vegetarian, $107 non-), consisting dishes from both North and South India. You can also order a la carte.
I sample a few new creations, which signal the restaurant is constantly improving and moving with the times, but I’m not enamored by the dishes. Both the foie gras ($38, pictured above), spiced with star anise masala, and Sarson cod tikka ($36), black cod in mustard oil, coriander and tamarind, lose their essence, the butteriness of foie gras, the milkiness of cod, because the spices overpower the delicateness of the meats.
Cod tikka (yellow, foreground) & chicken basil (green, background).
A better choice is chicken basil kebab ($36) in basil and pinenut cashew marinade–strange at first, but the weird pairing works, and is quite fun. A must order is the blue cheese nann ($14), super duper delicious with curry.
Platter of desserts: mango sac, malai kulfi (mocha ice cream, $14), wheat pudding ($14)
Song of India also has some molecular desserts for corporate events but comparing Song of India’s mango sac to LP+Tetsu, I am not impressed. The cracked wheat choco kheer ($14) is a better option, like a rice pudding, except the rice is replaced by wheat and white chocolate in this case.
While I admire the bravery and dedication of creating new dishes, I prefer the traditional Indian food served during the lunch buffet to the new creations. Call me old-fashioned, I think comforting Indian food in copious quantity and at an affordable price is worth returning.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
ps: Thanks, Pinky Piggu, for bringing me as a plus-one.