I can say with certain certainty that Revolver at Tras Street will be on our annual best restaurants list this year. Even my hard-to-please friend, who dined with me and who has eaten at all the fine-dining Indian restaurants in Singapore, avowed that Revolver is the best among them. It was not difficult to see why the restaurant was packed to the brim for a weekday lunch (although we had the dinner menu).
Chef-owner Saurabh Udinia uses international ingredients in the Indian cooking. Customers can glimpse into chefs’ lives in the open kitchen as they wrestle with their tandoors and woodfire and bincho grills. The 5-course lunch menu starts from $99+. For dinner, the Discovery menu (6 courses) and Experience menu (8 courses) are priced at $139++ and $199++ respectively. Like many Indian restaurants, Revolver is also vegetarian-friendly, serving an 8-course vegetarian menu at $149++. For this tasting, we had the 8-course Experience menu.
Before talking about the menu, the cocktails deserve a mention. I don’t usually talk about drinks at restaurants because I find that I don’t have much to talk about. But the cocktails here are rather – to put it lightly – sublime. They have layers of tastes, instead of being one-dimensional. It is worth getting a couple of cocktails.
The Experience menu starts off with wood-fired grilled courgette flowers stuffed with prawn balchao – inspired by the region of Goa – which tastes like hae bee hiam. Unexpectedly the blossom bursts in the mouth. The stem is brushed with a tangy Vindaloo curry reduction. One dish, two distinct but complementary styles. With a startling dish like this, our expectations soared.
The light milky flavours of the fresh paneer cheese are not overwhelmed by the beautifully aromatic char.
Inspired by the patra ni machi dish from the Parsi community, the red snapper is marinated with coriander, coconut, and lemongrass chutney; wrapped in banana leaf; and grilled over woodfire. Tastewise, it is just okay but the texture is great, moist and tender.
You may probably have eaten the popular Hakka-Indian dish, cauliflower Manchurian, in Indian restaurants, but here, they swap the cauliflower to Australian rock lobster in a sauce made from red chilli paste, garlic, ginger, green chillis, coriander, soy sauce, and onions. It is great and tastes a bit like mala with a twinge of sweetness. Despite the Manchurian masala sauce, you can still taste the lobster. But what is mindblowing is the fried rice which uses basmati. It is way tastier and more fragrant than any Chinese fried rice.
The quail was burnt. I was okay with it since I like very charred food, but most people wouldn’t.
We are familiar with the Korean short rib galbi but this piece of fire-grilled meat is in a nihari reduction, a rich, spicy, meaty, slightly sweet stew brought to India by the Mughals.
Kulchette is similar to a naan except that it uses white flour instead of wheat flour. Revolver’s version is studded with morel mushrooms then topped with more fungus, black truffle. Mushrooms are packed with umami, so this is great but I wonder if the sequence of when it is served is mistimed. Instead of serving it as the penultimate dish, just before the dessert, I’d prefer a free-flow of kulchette right at the start of the meal and throughout the meal, using it to wipe the sauces, like how we are used to eating at Indian restaurants. (Of course, done this way, they shouldn’t be so liberal with the black truffle, maybe toppings on just the first slice.)
Although this dessert of coconut and lemongrass isn’t great, I am not particular since Indian cuisine isn’t known for their desserts.
Revolver feels like the Indian version of Burnt Ends, and if you like Burnt Ends, you’ll enjoy Revolver. The food is bold and robust, complex in an understandable, unpretentious way.
56 Tras Street, Singapore 078997
t: +65 6223 2812
Lunch: Th – Sun 12 – 2.30pm
Dinner: W – Sun 6 – 11pm
You may be interested in…
–Copper Chimney, Little India: Not Affiliated to the Famous Bombay Chain. But It’s Probably One of the Best Indian Restaurants in Singapore
–Dindigul Thalappakatti, Little India: I Tried the Outlet in Chennai and It Was The Best Biryani Ever
–Indline Restaurant, Keong Saik: Are There Any Good, Casual Indian Restaurants Outside Little India?
–Como Cuisine, Dempsey: Indian-Inspired Modern Cuisine Recommended by Foodie
This was an invited tasting. Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.