Vegetarian Friendly Factor –
Vegan Friendly Factor –
If you’re one of those people who steer clear of Indian food assuming it to be heavy, spicy and oily, Rang Mahal turns the mythical reputation on its head. Not only does the restaurant spectacularly break the stereotype, chances are you’ll come out starry eyed after a fine meal.
The multi-award-winning restaurant is helmed by Corporate Chef Milind Sovani who has been a pioneer in changing the face of Indian cuisine in Singapore, taking it from street food to fine dining. Sovani, in the past, has been a chef for two Prime Ministers of India – Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Presently, he is working on revamping the menu for Rang Mahal, focusing on lighter food that is prepared passionately with the freshest ingredients and the finest repertoire of flavours and textures. He is also working towards introducing Ayurvedic elements into the food. Incidentally, the new menu will be more than half vegetarian, with several vegan dishes on offer too.
My first visit to Rang Mahal recently had me mulling between the Degustation Menu and the Lunch Buffet. (Priced at S$58, the Gourmet Buffet Lunch is available from 12pm to 2.30pm). Having heard so much about the restaurant, it was a difficult choice but we were glad to have chosen the Degustation Menu (S$128 or S$178 with wine/cognac pairing). Our anticipation for good food was catered to wonderfully.
The Vegetarian Degustation Menu
The meal starts with an Amuse Bouche. The bite sized dish of Papdi with Yogurt Caviar and Mint Chutney might look French but it tastes ‘very’ Indian. In introducing molecular gastronomy to the menu, the chef plays with the presentation, without compromising on the authenticity of food.
The hors d’œuvre is followed by Roasted Tomato Saar Soup, with an Ayurvedic touch in the form of Herbal Mulethi Foam. Popularly known as liquorice, Mulethi is a condiment with a multitude of health and medicinal benefits. The Mulethi foam has a cooling effect on the throat and adds a sweet after-note to balance the sour tomato element of the soup, essentially replacing sugar. *The soup is vegan.
Up next is the Two Way Asparagus White & Green Avocado Kebab. I’m not a big (or small, for that matter) fan of avocado. So, I was a bit apprehensive of trying the avocado patty, but boy was I surprised! The beautifully plated dish tastes fantastic and easily grabs the mantle of ‘star dish of the day’. *The avocado kebab contains a bit of paneer for binding, but on request, the cottage cheese can be substituted by potatoes to make it vegan.
While waiting for the main course, the staff let us sneak a taste of a couple of appetisers from the lunch buffet. We tried the Quinoa Upma – quinoa done like an Indian breakfast dish, tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds – excellent, very flavourful and something that I plan to try replicating at home; and Masala Cheesesticks with Tomato Onion Salsa.
Our appetite having been amply whetted by the appetisers, we were served Sorbet to cleanse our palette before the mains. Not your regular frozen dessert, the Mango Lassi Sphere will surprise you as it pops in your mouth releasing a strong mango punch. Oh, and you’ll be forgiven for mistaking it for an egg yolk!
The hearty main dish is Exotic Vegetables, Kerala Moily Curry with Curryleaf Tempered Rice. The Moily is traditionally a fish stew from the Southern Indian state of Kerala, Rang Mahal does a delicious vegetarian Moily. It was my first time ever trying a Moily Curry and I loved the dish. Served alongside the rice and curry are the freshest Fluffy Naans with Crispy Okra, Dal Maa Dumpukht. If there was one thing that did not live up to the rest of the meal, it was the Raita that was served as an accompaniment. The okra is crispy and delicious – a dish I would go back for. Rang Mahal’s naan is the best I’ve had in town so far. It looks and tastes different, and remained soft & fluffy (not chewy) even when cold. The dal is delicious too, and does not coat your tastebuds with cream. All in all, the mains were a runaway hit. *Every dish in the main course is vegan as long as you don’t go for the raita (which is an accompaniment anyway). Rang Mahal’s naans do not contain egg or dairy.
The dessert was every bit(e) worth the wait. The Lychee Kulfi Frostie comes topped with a small Crispy Kesari Jalebi. The kulfi (traditional Indian ice-cream) is quite good but the syrup at the bottom might be a bit too sweet for some. I thoroughly enjoyed the jalebi (Indian dessert made by deep-frying flour batter in pretzel shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup) – nice and crisp, and not overtly sweet.
The Kashmiri Kahwa Tea rounds off the meal nicely. Kahwa is an aromatic mix of Kashmiri green tea leaves, whole spices, nuts and saffron. Vegans are especially going to love this as unlike the usual Indian chai, Kahwa tea is made sans dairy. The notes of saffron and almond make for a melodious etude in Rang Mahal’s Kahwa, the perfect end to a fantastic meal.
Know Before You Go
- The above mentioned Degustation Menu will be available at Rang Mahal from mid-Feb at S$128 or a sweet deal of S$178 with wine/cognac pairing.
- Rang Mahal tries to cater to all kinds of special requests. So if you have dietary restrictions, please ask.
- They do not use ghee in their cooking as they focus on lighter, healthier food.
- Although not Halal certified as they serve alcohol, all ingredients used are from halal certified suppliers and they do not use any pork, beef or lard in their restaurant dishes.
- They are moving towards a more vegetarian menu with more than half of the dishes being vegetarian, and several vegan dishes too. Many non-vegan dishes can be done vegan upon request, so don’t be afraid to ask.