good indian food – but rather abrupt service – at this hideaway restaurant in bukit timah. it’s not an area I venture too often to these days – lack of a driving license and the sparsity of public transport make it almost entirely not-worth-the-while – but the lure of a groupon promotion and an impossible-to-excuse-onself-from family meal meant I actually had the chance to try this place.
and it was a good meal – though really, it’s a cuisine marked by bombastic explosions of spice and a rather hedonistic use of carbohydrates, which gives it more than a robust starting point to start with.
the groupon promotion (which I think is now over) gave us the option of an ala carte buffet from a short list of options that included curry and tandoori items, as well as a choice of carbs.
here’s a good time to start on the rather strangely obstinate (and offensive) behavior of the staff. we were kept sitting (one of only two tables occupied in the restaurant) asking the chatting staff for service repeatedly – only to be nodded at and asked to wait (I still don’t know what for). when a chap finally arrived to take our order, it was both abrupt and rather uppity – not a great start to the meal.
but the food held up.
the appetisers included a brightly-colored orange tomato soup, battered okra slices and fried potato samosas. the first was the only let-down – it was very watery, and strangely tasted like the drained off liquid from a can of tomatoes, with the color of chilli oil – aesthetically and tastewise unpalatable, so we left it untouched.
the okra though, was well-seasoned and pretty much well-priced (even better if the bit of grease had been better blotted off). the just-nice touch of salt on the whole thing made it incredibly more-ish. the potato samosas were also done well, with a crispy browned shell and cooked chunks of peas and potato within.
the chicken dishes were less sparkling, though we did order repeat servings. there was a spicy red diced version sauteed with capsicums that I thought a little oily (though the rest of the table wolfed it up), but my recommendation goes to the tandoor-cooked chicken: larger bone-in portions with moist meat and a good marinade.
in general though, my favorite parts of the meal were the spice-ier dishes, like the cooked vegetables and curries. they started to look (and taste) the same after a while – and I confess to not necessarily noting the nuances between the various dishes, but indian food is a fantastically delicious way to get your carbs and vegetables down.
these three were definitely potato heavy, with the second and third dishes perked up with cauliflower and a mix of other vegetables – not health food by any means, especially not with the obviously liberal amount of oil you could see at the bottom of the dish.
I’m not going to pretend I can differentiate between these three curries, so I shan’t – but there was a lentil, a lamb, and a chicken one. all creamy, flavorful, and without that unappetising slick of red oil you see at the top of some curries (which just means that evil is hidden within – but you know, out of sight = out of mind).
I really like the dhaal – the lentils had broken down so it was both creamy and satisfyingly chunky, good on its own or with the carbs:
for which you get a choice of two – long white basmati, or wedges of naan. the rice was beautifully cooked to dry separate grains, and the bread had good char. either of the two would do you.
we finished with a single ball of jamun, which is a sweet syrup-
drownedsoaked ball of fried dough – rather like a baba rhum except with a donut. I’m not one for indian desserts – they are too sweet and too intense to finish off an already tastebud-exciting meal full of spices – so I’m not going to pass judgment on this. it was very sweet though, as you’d expect.
the meal was really rather good overall, and it makes me wonder why this place isn’t more crowded. the service does nothing for the experience, but the food is more than good enough to stand up on its own – and a buffet lunch of these tasty things more than make for a great meal. especially recommended if you have a car – and if not, at least us licenseless walkers can grab a bus from the nearby botanic gardens station.
Indian Curry House (Bukit Timah)
#01-03 Sixth Avenue Center
805 Bukit Timah Rd
tel +65 6463 6289
$$: the buffet lunch averaged twenty a head (with the help of a groupon voucher)