posh northern indian food, from a prolific truly-indian chain that’s gone upmarket in singapore. this place reminds me of my favorite indian places in london, where the cuisine is dished up fine-dining-style, and with more care and finesse than you’d usually see in singapore.
and the food is great – everything that I love to eat, with bright spice-y flavors and sparkling flavours in a sleek, dark environ that makes for great dates and girls’ nights out.
this wasn’t what I expected when I headed off to have indian – but it does make sense, given as how it’s located in the bustling drinks-galore madness that is clarke quay. all sleek lines and dark furnishings, it’s a balm to post-work fatigue (makes sense given it’s part of the nightlife-oriented harry’s group).
they pride themselves on their bar, which apparently sees a fair share of merrymakers, but we started with three of their tasty lassis: a plain sweet, a mango, and a strawberry one (that apparently isn’t on the menu – but I suggest trying your luck). all thick, not overtly sweet and immensely satisfying, I finished my glass well before our dishes started arriving (and no, service wasn’t slow). it’s a throw up between the three flavors as I liked them all, so pick your poison.
the meal got off on a good start with the tandoori broccoli, which was pretty unexpected. I love the vegetable pretty much every which way I can get it, but like this, tender and spiced with slightly charred florets, it’s exactly the sort of thing I could eat forever.
the meat dishes are pretty stellar, with the bhatti chicken and barra chops coming out the tandoor both tender and moist, with a gentle but sophisticated blend of spices. I’m not expert enough to wax lyrical about notes of cardamom and cumin and all – such a noob, eh? – but good indian food to me is when the spices harmonise and complement the meats, and it was done very nicely here.
those patties you see up there are galouti kebabs, essentially lamb minced 32 times to reach a fatty, homogenous, pate-reminiscent texture. I don’t take lamb, but my friends (HI ZEEK AND MEDHA) whacked quite a few on their own. I think it was quite rich, so make sure you know what you’re in for.
and an indian meal just isn’t complete without a curry or daal,
especially when you have delicious naan bread to sop it up with. our coriander chicken and prawn masala were a dryer style of curry, with tasty thick (rather than soup-like) gravies that clung to our porous naans. we were pretty stuffed at this stage, but that basket of carb deliciousness arrived and we just had to stuff ourselves.
the garlic naan is all delicious and fragrant with its slick of butter and golden allium bits, but my absolute favorite was the peshawari naan, all enriched from butter and stuffed with chopped nuts.
desserts followed: orange rasmalai were loose curds of cottage cheese flavored with rosewater and orange, the kulfi medley a plate of refreshing semi-freddo type malai and kesar pista kulfi, and a utterly and completely delicious bowl of mango phirni.
if you steer away from too-sweet indian desserts as I do, the rasmalai might be a tad too much for you. stick with the kulfi, or better yet, go for the phirni – cooked alphonso mango and date puree served with iranian pistachioes – which I had to stop myself from finishing. sometimes you just have to remember that your appetite may seem ever-large, but your trousers aren’t.
I’m no connoisseur, so it may tell you more (than it tells me) that the cuisine here is pased on punjab-style cooking. our lovely host was very enthusiastic about how they use lots of butter for flavor, instead of the more traditional ghee, and while I can’t explicitly taste any of that dairy fat – just be aware that it ain’t diet food.
it’s a great pit stop for an evening meal, and that bar makes it very convenient to transit to or from post-work drinks within the comfort of the modern restaurant (while you people-watch from the full-length glass perimeter). be aware that this isn’t little india style rusticity, but fantastic food more aligned to fine european-type dining; prices are therefore reasonable for this style of restaurant, though probably more than you might be used to for the cuisine.
just to finish: my must-orders are the tandoori broccoli, that bhatti chicken and the peshawari naan, all wiped up with that mango phirni.
Pind Balluchi Bar & Grill
#01-15, 3B River Valley Road
Clarke Quay, Singapore
tel +65 6337 7350
$$$: widely dependent on what you order, but I’d peg this as a 50-60 and upward type of place
thanks to jill for the lovely invite, and for hosting us so beautifully.