Here you have three absolutely vain & unrelated pictures of myself to start my post with, just because I especially liked how my hair looked yesterday. Yay for good hair days.
So, on to real business. If you've been following my blog for as long as I'm hoping you have (lol), you'll know I have a passion for indian food.
I absolutely LOVE indian food.... I've blogged about it so many times! But I won't settle for just roti prata and any curry, I'm always on a mission to find quality indian cuisine offered in Singapore. It's sad how misunderstood indian food is in Singapore, many people I know don't like it because they think it's "dirty / smelly"... they say they don't think the food has been cooked cleanly in their kitchens. I think that's a silly, silly stigma, because most of the hawker centres selling Chinese food in Singapore have appalling standards of food preparation hygiene, and yet we eat it everyday without complaints... Well the only complain I have is that my farts are especially deadly whenever I have indian food. LOL. But hey, eating gorgonzola cheese (italian) and caesar salad (general western) makes me gas a lot too so it's not just limited to indian food, it really depends.
The point of my post today is to share with you guys my current FAVORITE indian restaurant in Singapore!!! I've gotten a lot of questions before asking about my old favorite indian place but it closed down in recent months to poor business :( It was called Mumtaz Mahal, located at Far East Plaza, and I was so gutted when they shut down. It's now replaced by some nasi lemak or indonesian food place.I thought my butter chicken days were officially over.... every other place I've tried just isn't quite the same. Like I said before, good indian restaurants in Singapore are DAMN difficult to find and I'm so glad to have chanced upon this one accidentally one fine evening, it's our go-to for our indian fix these days, and is a lovely venue to have dinner for any occasion (if you can find indian food kakis that is, for me when I find a buddy who likes indian food I CLING ONTO THEM FOR DEAR LIFE I'm never letting you out of my sight dear friend). This place is new to Sam & I, but I'm sure it's been around for actually quite some time, it gets very popular during dinner time we have noticed :)
So.. here are some pictures from the amazing dinner we had a few days ago!! My weight-management physician (you'll find out more about her soon) will not be pleased, omg. Don't tell her about this.
Bottom right, the star dish: Butter Chicken (not sure what they call it in their menu, they always have different varying names for it depending on the restaurant but just ask for butter chicken)
This is sooooooooooo ridiculously gooodddd wtf. It's the best butter chicken I have EVER had and I've had many, trust me!!! Even the super pricey, famed & popular indian restaurant in Perth called 9 Mary's that I went to didn't match up to this (and that place was quite fabulous indeed)
The sauce is relatively sweet, not too spicy or salty to be considered "curry", it's very creamy and quite mild in terms of spiciness. The chicken was well marinated and tender through. Most butter chicken dishes have a decent-enough sauce, but the chicken itself is blah - too dry and plain on the inside. But this one had such an authentic taste!!! It's an explosion of flavors in your mouth. It goes so well with...
My favorite here is the garlic naan. Now, I normally prefer butter naan, but this place does the garlic naan better and has won me over :) Garlicky while not being too overpowering or "spicy". It's definitely not the best I've tired, but it is nice enough. Fluffy centers and crispy exteriors make it the perfect sponge for soaking up all that much sauce that comes with most indian main dishes.
This.... this. This is Sam's favorite, and he says he will come back to Shahi Maharani (wow what a mouthful) again and again, JUST for this.
It's a sizzling hot plate (hence the blur foggy picture, it was still sizzling and smoking away) with a ton of different ingredients. You probably can't tell properly, but from my memory, the platter comes with 2 largeeee succulent tandoori prawns (TO DIE FOR), fish tikka pieces, tandoori chickens and 2 kebabs. On a bed of onions / shallots that had the time to get all caramelized, browned and lovely. I love.
If you're not too big on indian food and don't know where to start, get this platter & share. Their portions are actually relatively large, Sam and I more than over-ordered, but we rarely give ourselves an indian meal treat these days, so we jump at every opportunity. It makes us really happy. I adore how it arrives at our table still sizzling and smoking..... anything on a hot plate instantly makes it yummier, like drinking soup from a stone bowl, or noodles in a claypot!!!
This last dish we ordered that night is the lamb korma. It's tender mutton pieces drenched in a rich curry, medium spiced. Sorry you can't see much from the picture, lol, it's all drenched in sauce. (which is why it's sooo good!) Someone I used to know commented that she doesn't like indian food because there's too many spices & flavors going on, she doesn't know what she's putting into her mouth at the end of the day and whether they use ingredients (such as meats) that aren't as fresh and mask it up with a thick curry flavor. You'll have no problem with the "smelly mutton smell" (as chinese people in Singapore call it) here.
We've tried more dishes on other dates that aren't listed here because I didn't manage to take a picture of those, but literally everything we tried on the menu ranged from good to very good. Otherwise I wouldn't bother to make a blog post out of this, I'm generally a very lazy blogger, LOL. Note that this is, in no way, a sponsored post. I wish it was though... my life would be complete. I love my own cooking, but I can't cook indian food. The recipes are too traditional & complicated and how large a spice rack would I have to own?!
Food quality aside, this place is fast turning into one of our top restaurants in Singapore because of it's wonderful service and ambience. Restaurant set up is very cozy, nicely decorated and is posh enough to be considered a "nice dinner" but not too posh that it's pretentious or that you'd feel uncomfortable if you wore casual clothing. The waiters are friendly & all speak decent english, quick to fill up your water glass when it's emptying, they're happy to give you suggestions based on your own preferences and most of all, they want to make sure you have a good time. We are always checked up upon and asked, "how is the food?" with a smile. In Singapore, it is SO SO SO SO rare to find GOOD QUALITY SERVICE in our restaurants. Professional and friendly waiters are honestly a near-extinct species here. Why the hell am I paying 10% of my total bill for service tax when I haven't received good service at all? So when I find a restaurant with good service, such as the Fish & Co at Changi Airport and this one, it's like a dream come true.
Oh, I must also mention that they have a live band - indian singers singing indian songs!! (well duh I sound stupid - if not indian singers singing chinese songs meh) Very cool experience, and the vibe we get from this place is great, we never fail to leave smiling and patting our tummies (and rolling out the front door)
See: me entering, before food is served..... see again: me exiting, food in ma belly.
Pricing wise, it's towards the high side, but totally worth the money. If you're on a budget, mentally prepare yourself before entering. Our dinner above costed us about $100 SGD - for 2 naan breads, 1 lamb korma, 1 butter chicken, and 1 platter to share. That's a lot of food we had to ourselves though.. probably about 3-4 person's worth, so technically you could almost halve that amount for a meal for 2, if you wanted to. But since I've started cooking regularly, I really haven't been dining out that much, and I'm happy to indulge in quality food & service once in awhile. If the price totally puts you off, they also have a lunch buffet, it's more affordable and it's all-you-can-eat so knock yourself out. I haven't tried it personally but reviews online say it's pretty good. Thing about buffet food is.... the quality is almost always never as good as ala carte items. Well it's your choice to make!
Shahi Maharani North Indian Restaurant
252 North Bridge Road, #03-21B Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 6235 8840
Food quality: 4/5
Service / Ambience: 4/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Most suitable for: Families, lovers of Indian cuisine, adventurous foodies who want to try something different!
Sam & Jess, signing off! (it was actually his idea to blog about this place since I gushed about it so much)
We're going on a sponsored trip for the next 3 days - woopie!!! Will be back with a blog post about it afterwards. I can't wait for this well-deserved break, even if it's going to be a short getaway nearby.