In my imaginative moments, I likened dining in Singapore to an emperor in ancient China where there is an harem of imperial ladies to chose from for his nightly pleasure - There is an abundant of choices. While some seems to be more favored and received repeated visits more often, there are also certain love we will indulge in once in awhile. Indian cuisine is not one which I feast upon on a frequent basis, but is undoubtedly one which I enjoy as well. So when the opportunity presents itself to dine at The Song of India, one of the best-known Indian fine dining restaurant in Singapore, of course there was no hesitation on my part to say "yes". Organized by Asian Masters, an evening of Glenlivet presented with Flavours of Kashmir awaits.
Located along Scotts Road which is just a stone's throw away from the shopping heaven of Orchard Road, The Song of India resides in a charming black and white heritage bungalow set amid lush green surroundings. The short walk through its entranceway framed by beautiful wooden pillars was an enchanting one which brought us into an inner realm of grandeur and sophistication completed with beautiful art pieces adorning the walls. Sparkling crystal chandeliers and golden curtains suggest an air of opulence yet the interior remains tasteful and comfortable without the over-the-top feel.
The man to look out for that evening has to be Chef Munjunath Mural, who showcased a delectable 5-course menu that best reflects the Kashmiri cuisine from the northwestern region of Indian which is known for its richness and aromatic flavours. Each course is paired with 5 expressions of single malt whiskies from The Glenlivet encompassing of the 12, 15, 18, 21 and 25 year old. Wine and cocktail pairing dinners are commonly heard of, but to savour Indian food with whisky was indeed an intriguing first experience for many. My consumption of any beverages which are alcoholic in nature has been relegated into the past so I'm unable to tell you if the pairings works, but you can check out the review by my dining companion, fellow blogger Chef and Sommelier.
Talking about food is surely a better way of getting me excited! Dinner commenced with an appetizer trio comprising of Kashir Gaadh, a smoked fish delicacy flavored with ginger, clove and asafotida which I find its fiery spiciness a tad overwhelming, Nadru Wazwan, an enjoyable chargrilled lotus root stem marinated with Kashmiri red chilli & crushed cumin with just the right balance of spiciness and flavours, as well as Muji Chetintin, a sharp but pleasant-tasting radish and walnut chutney set in a dainty tart base.
The main course of Tabak Maaz, a traditional Kashmiri lamb rack accompanied with Khasta Roti Ajwaini, an omam seed flavored bread flavoured soon followed. The well-marinated lamb with its tender meat and luscious, lip-smacking sauce easily became one of my favorite dishes of the evening.
The Kashmiris have always been known to be heavy meat eaters and the most notable ingredient in its cuisine is the mutton which was featured twice during our dinner. To give us variety, Chef Munjunath used hand pounded chicken instead for Gostafa-E-Murgh, creating a variation of Gushtaba, a meatball dish made of minced lamb. Though rather full-flavored in fennel, cardamon and yogurt sauce, I would prefer the chicken meatballs to have a bouncier texture, and found myself in greater enjoyment of the side dish of Dum Olav, a skewer of delicious soft baby potatoes cooked and seasoned in shahi cumin and chilli sauce.
The other lamb dish which we had was a very hearty Dhani Phul Gulmarg, a traditional lamb shank prepared in slow-cooked Yakhni sauce of yogurt ginger saffron and aromatic spices. Saffron is the most important spice of Kashmir which enhance every dish with a heavenly flavor including the aromatic side dish of Kesar Pulao, a slow-cooked basmati rice which is prepared on special occasions in north India. Another side dish worth a mention is the Nadir Korma, where chunks of lotus root are smothered in light spinach curry.
Major love of the evening was the simple Kashmiri Naan, a flatbread stuffed with bits of almond, cashew, cherry and baked in a tandoor to a chewy texture with wonderfully crispy edges. The basket of these hot and fluffy delights were simply irresistible with their alluring buttery aroma, rendering me into state of helplessness as I indulged in each carbs-laden bite.
Dessert was a colorful affair with the pretty Seb Ke Phirni catching my eye. Chilled apple pistachio phirni was contained in a hollowed apple wrapped with a layer of silver varq. Though the phirni had a thick custard-like consistency, its taste was refreshing and light on the palate. Sharing the platter too was the Chocolatious Kulfi, a dense and creamy apricot dark chocolate Indian ice cream. I polished everything off the plate, marking a satisfying end to the flavours of Kashmiri journey.
Asian Masters returns for its fourth edition from 1 November to 7 December 2013! Expect exquisite gastronomic treats and memorable dining experiences with a stellar line up of celebrity and Michelin-starred chefs, as well as innovative cocktail and whisky pairing dinners.
For more information on the various events, reservations and ticket purchases, please visit the official website: www.asianmasters.com.sg.
Do check out their Facebook page too: https://www.facebook.com/asianmasters
Asian Masters is organised by Sphere Exhibits Pte Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH), together with Presenting Partner Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (OCBC Bank).
Thanks to the organizers of Asian Masters for the invitation.
The Song of India
Address: 33 Scotts Road, Singapore 228226
Contact: +65 68360055
Opening Hours: Daily 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm