• Elizabeth Yong

Rang Mahal, Pan Pacific Hotel


India is known for its distinctive culture dating back to more than 8,000 years of history with 38 regions and extensive styles of cooking. Rang Mahal was established in 1971, originally housed in Imperial Hotel and moved to the contemporary premise at Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore. It is the only Indian restaurant to receive the straits times Best Asian Restaurant in 2017 .

Walking up to Rang Mahal restaurant, we were greeted by a large Ganesha statue, one of India's most popular diety. The hostess ushered us in to a long dining room with crisp white table cloths laid with perfectly set tables in a fine-dining setting.

We were excited to taste the reinvention of classic Indian dishes with a modern twist. This new menu portrays the "New India" into its advancement of modernism whilst keeping true to its traditions. Chef Milind Sovani is a culinary expert for the last 30 years who has been a chef to four of India's prime ministers and a three-time award winner of the "Asian Chef of the Year". He firmly creates his dishes based on Ayurveda principles that promote a holistic and a balanced diet though six tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter pungent and astringent. Now let us take you on a culinary journey through India.

We started our meal with an amuse-bouche entitled Vada. This is a twist on street food, packed with flavour within the first mouthful. It is a play on molecular gastronomy with a yogurt foam topped chutney that has been moulded into a caviar-like form. It certainly tasted like the whole of India, with the sweetness coming from the cake, a sour tinge in the foam and a spicy burst from the caviar with an overall citrus mouthfeel.

Next, we moved on to the Tomato Saar, Mulethi Herb Foam ($20), a great starter with a light twist to the classic tomato soup packed with flavour in each mouthful. The ingredient of the mulethi faom is a famous sweet liquorice root that is an important herb that can help cure sore throat, colds and coughs.

Bombay Pani Poori ($25) is a local street food served in crispy semolina puffs but with a slightly different filling if moong bean sprouts, onions and chillies. Accompanying it is a spiced water with a blend of chutney, spices and herbs served in a shot glass. The proper way to eat this dish is to pour the spice water into the puffs and devour it in one bite. This was certainly one of our favourite dishes as it had such a refreshing flavour.

We continued the night with Roomali Masala Papad ($15) the first in Singapore to serve up a gigantic papad that spans the entire wok. This has been cooked with not a single drop of oil, It was very light and healthy, topped with lentil crisps, onion, tomato, chili and a special spice blend. This reminded us of loaded nachos but an Indian version and goes very well with a pint of beer or a glass of whisky.

The next dish that was served was the Tandoori duet of White and Green asparagus ($35), one of Rang Mahal's singnature dishes. The white asparagus was very juicy and we could taste the clean flavours coming from it whereas the green asparagus is packed with spice. This is accompanied with a red beetroot sauce, yellow mustard and green mint sauce.

The Butter Chicken Bao ($42) is inspired by Chinese dim sum. The bao is made out of naan bread with a mix of chicken tikka which is also a tribute to Singapore. This dish was quite interesting but in my opinion, not the best reinvention of the iconic butter chicken and naan.

Next up was the Tandoori Fondue, an Ensemble of Kebabs ($58), a unique rendition with chicken kebabs in 4 different styles: holy basil, kauri fenugreek, cashew cheese, and punjab tikka. This also came with a cheese sauce with a hint of tomato makhni, as well as naan bread on the side. What's not to love about this dish? It was absolutely delightful and a vegetarian option is also available upon request.

The next main course we had was Dhuwandaar Lamb Chops ($42) smoked with garam masala and applewood. This Australian lamb rack has been cooked in the tandoor with a spice blend, caramelised pineapple and a ginger garlic marinade. Absolutely medium-rare perfection, juicy and tender with all the flavours coming together. A very well executed dish with a bit of theatrics to entice the palate with the smell of the smoke lingering in the room while the the glass lid was lifted slowly.

Following a traditional recipe from Mumbai, the Parsi Kheema Per Edda, Maska Bao ($55) came to the table sizzling away. This spiced minced lamb with an egg was certainly delicious with the homemade butter buns (maska). We kept on going back for more and that was an indication of how much we loved this dish.

We have tasted so many vegetable curries but the Subz Moilee ($36) was out of this world, it is nothing like we have ever tasted. This is similar to a green curry but not quite the same. The coconut has been freshly grounded by the kitchen into a kerala-style coconut curry. Usually with Indian curries it is quite common to deep fry the vegetables and mix it in with the sauce. However Chef Milind steams the vegetables -- baby asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, red peppers -- with a thick sauce. This was the best dish we tasted all night and almost every other table around us ordered this dish. Its perfect with rice or garlic naan, so simple but tasty in every way.

Finally we have come to the end of the night with two desserts. The Lychee Kulfi ($20), a homemade traditional ice-cream with all natural ingredients was the right balance of sweetness and the dry ice was a nice touch.

We ended our dinner with the final dessert, the Gulab Jamun Flambe ($25), showcasing gulab jamuns drenched in a rose saffron nectar syrup, these golden dumplings are then balanced with fresh fruits and served flambe style with a drambuie liqour. Usually this dessert is known for being ridiculously sweet but this was toned down very well.

These dishes truly paint a colorful picture of India's family communal sharing style reflecting modern home-cooking, street food and gourmet classics. About 80% of Chef Milind's creations are new items and he keeps 20% of the traditional Indian dishes.

I'd say that Rang Mahal has a solid menu that was well thought out and executed. We were also pleased that Chef Milind of Rang Mahal restaurant brought out every dish to us, explaining it carefully and at the end of the dinner he sat with us on our table for a quick chat making us feel right at home. We are thoroughly impressed with this new dinner menu and it's theatrics, a must try in Singapore.

On a side note, If you are keen on a gourmet lunch buffet, it is available from 12pm-2:30pm from Sunday to Friday at $58++ per person. Also, if you are thinking of throwing a party or a business dinner the private dining room is available to seat 18 comfortably.

Rang Mahal Restaurant

Level 3, Pan Pacific Singapore

7 Raffles Boulevard 039595

Operating hours

Buffet Lunch : 12pm-2:30pm

Dinner: 6:30pm-10:30pm

#rangmahal #indianfood #finedining #panpacifichotel #singapore

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