Aryaa at Diners Building along Beach Road is both a club, playing Bollywood dance music, and a restaurant themed around the conquest of Alexander The Great, serving Greek, Turkish, and Indian food. The second-generation Turkish chef, Mehmet Kamil Erkan, has helped at his family restaurant of 42 years of history, and worked in Greece for 5 years.
Aryaa holds much potential, but they are not ready. The service that night was hesitant and slightly awkward. When we ordered Aryaa’s Tandoori platter ($75), they gave us the vegetarian platter (above, $40). And when we told them about the mix-up, the server shrugged, and didn’t correct the mistake. Some training is required.
Needless to say, we didn’t enjoy the vegetarian platter at all. All meats on the Aryaa’s Mediterranean grilled platter (above, $55) are dry and tough and overly charred. What is really good are the Greek Tzatziki dips, creamy, tangy, super energizing. When you dip the chicken into the Tzatiziki sauce, the sauce mellows and uplifts the meat. I’d imagine The Aryaa Meze Platter ($18), as a starter, consisting of popular Greek dips, would be very good, but we didn’t want to order dips and pita for the sake of our waistlines!
The laal maas ($24) is a fiery Rajastani lamb curry made with Kashmiri chillies, yoghurt and traditional masala spices. It is still fierce even though we requested for mild, but it is quite nice, and at least the lamb is tender.
I have always liked moussaka (above, $22), something like a Greek lasagna, but this version is slightly different than the ones I had in Greece. The Greek ones were lighter, more refreshing, and had more eggplant than sauce, but this version is not bad: full-on strong flavors, very cheesy with the tartness of tomatoes.
Desserts are weak. The galaktoboureko (above, $15) is a home made creamy custard wrapped in golden brown crispy phyllo pastry, drizzled with melted butter, bathed in scented syrup with a sprinkle of cinnamon—not bad, but monotonously sweet. The baklava ($18) is, I quote from the menu, “our chef’s speciality,” but it tastes like it’s fresh out of the fridge. I’d rather they say the item is not available, than to eat a bad one.
I’ve tasted enough good food in Aryaa to know that it has potential, but for pete’s sake, don’t put a chef’s hat beside so many items on the menu—meaning that the item is a signature dish—when the item isn’t. They need to streamline the menu, justify the price, and train the service staff. If all these are accomplished, then Aryaa will be excellent.
7500E Beach Road, #01-201 Diners Building, Singapore 199595
T: +65 6291 6009
M-F 12pm-3pm, M-Sat 6pm to 11pm, Closed Sun
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.