When Song of India got their Michelin star, I was surprised as Indian cuisine has been a force to reckon with in the culinary world but it was not innovative and quite predictable in tastes.
It was difficult to progress beyond the customary 1 Star nod as Indian cuisine is heavy on spice and flavours, light on presentation and plating. Moreover, the deep tradition that surrounds Indian cuisine means that any innovation is frowned upon. All these changed when Gaggan appeared in Bangkok.
So I had a lot of expectation when I visited The Song of India for the very first time
The complimentary papadam is served with a nuclear red pepper sauce. We ordered two appetisers, the classic tandoori chicken and Lucknavi style awadhi lamb seekh kebabs.
The tandoori chicken is well spiced and marinated and is still moist and tender. The lamb sheekh kebabs are very flavourful, complex and fulfilling. However, they are served on very colourful aioli that we would not touch as the colours were a bit out of this world.
For the mains, we ordered quintet of masala and panner to share to be mopped up with very fragrant garlic and butter naan made a la minute. The evergreen favourite of aloo phoolgobi masala (cauliflower and potato masala) and palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese) are done without any further surprises. So are the chicken tikka khas masala (butter chicken masala in oven baked tomato gravy), Goan fish curry (coconut and kokam tamarind infused fish curry) and Kashmiri roganjosh (lamb curry).
They are well executed dishes. But I still did not understand how the star was given, when there are much better specimen of the same dishes in other Indian restaurants in Serangoon road. Even my usual Indian fix in Raffles City has a better more varied taste but they didn’t get the star.
We order two dum briyani – Avadhi dum lamb biryani (Avadhi lamb briyani) and sufiyani chicken dum biryani (chicken briyani in fennel chilli stock). Firstly, they came in china bowl, not the traditional copper dum container – an indication that the briyani wasn’t cooked in the utensil. Then, the briyani was not fluffy and came premixed – another indication it’s not the traditional dum briyani. And the taste was quite bland and spices were diluted.
Alphonso mango kulfi is their homemade Indian ice cream. Very nice with the alphonso mango taste, but I suspected that artificial flavours have been used to make them. The watermelon that came along with the kulfi was stale. Not expected in a Michelin restaurant.
Black and Whites
The restaurant is located in the quieter part of Scotts Road in a classic black and white bungalow. The decor is colonial. It is definitely quiet for a Michelin restaurant and for a Sunday evening. I could see the reason why – the food is not that fantastic that you cannot find in another Indian restaurant, nor the service was so good that you would bring your customers. The price however is really high for Indian food.
Not visiting any time soon.
The Song of India
33 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228226
Tel : +65 68360055
Date Visited : Aug 2019
Michelin Singapore 1 Star 2016, 2017, 2018