In times when Michelin-starred restaurants give way to casual dining, in times when the death of fine-dining knells, Rang Mahal is pure class of the timeless sort. Instead of going for the ubiquitous casual chic/ industrial look, the restaurant maintains its padded tables, oak flooring, and hand-tufted carpets. You pass a corridor of black Shanxi granite before reaching the dining hall with a tall ceiling and Arabescato marble wainscoting. How many fine dining restaurants have the luxury of such space these days?
Amuse-bouche: avocado on cucumber, a cake, and cucumber mint. Mango lassi by the side.
When I was there on a Monday night, I was surprised by its full house. Half the crowd was angmohs (who made me worry about the food) and the other half, Indians (who assuaged my worry). I was like a piece of hot prata topped with ice cream; I flipped between apprehension and assurance.
And then the food came. Lunch is served buffet style (Sun-Fri, $58+); and dinner either a la carte or a set menu (2-course $88+, 3-course $98+). Vegetarian options available. We had the 3-course. In general, the food was refined, using modern–by modern, I mean fashionable–ingredients. For instance, the pleasing Gobhi soup (additional $15), a light, thin, soothing cauliflower soup, was laced with truffle–excellent for warming the stomach before a meal. The main course (above) came with quinoa, not basmati rice. Quinoa, if handled badly, would have a bitterness, but here, the quinoa was cooked superbly, with a tinge of sweetness.
First course: chicken tikka, and lamb kebab
Compared to Table by Rang Mahal, their sister outlet, the food here had more depth. You could taste the subtle spices that add to the complexity, like in the sea bass curry, which wasn’t spicy but possessed a range of flavors. But, like Table, the food did not have much heat, and spiciness is characteristic of Indian food. But I suppose the lack of heat is largely because refined food is restrained, and spiciness represents unbridled wildness, unsuitable for refinement.
That said, our favorite food that night came from the East-meets-West fusion. The portobello mushroom(above) was a funginception: shimeji mushrooms were placed within the portobello covered with a layer of cheese. The Roquefort kulcha, or blue cheese naan, was warm, fluffy, soft, and stuffed with blue cheese–doubly comforting when dipped in yogurt with sundried tomatoes.
Palate cleanser between meals: lemon sorbet.
The desserts, homemade espresso ice cream, rasmalai, and kersari jalebi, were exceptional too, one better than the next. If forced to choose, I’d pick the warm kersari jalebi. It was saccharine, mellowing into a saffron honey-ness, and chased by a taste of ghee.
The service was professional, the ambience amazing, the food good. But Chiobu and I couldn’t bear to pay so much for a 3-course Indian food. The customers around us were either celebrating a happy occasion or having a business social meal (as in, you know, their companies were paying for their meals). Perhaps it is best to leave Rang Mahal for a special occasion because the restaurant is an experience that will leave a deep impression on you. Besides, you can then reserve a luxurious private room (above) with a long dining table and a lounge area (for about 18 persons), with minimum spending of $1200+ (lunch) or $1800+ (dinner).
7 Raffles Boulevard, Pan Pacific Singapore Level 3, Singapore 039595
T: +65 6333 1788
Rang Mahal Menu
Rating: 3.375/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
Thanks Belda for the invite.