Immerse in the colonial world gone past at the Tiffin Room, Raffles Hotel Singapore!

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Raffles Singapore’s exclusive restaurant, the Tiffin Room, will be presenting for a limited time only the Dakshin Food Festival from now till 25th October. During the festival, the Tiffin Room will recreate a journey of South Indian spices and cuisine for all guests. Discover flavours from the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh in the select spread of appetisers, salads, mains and desserts. Furthermore, during the Dakshin food festival, all diners stand a chance to win a two night stay at the Fairmont Jaipur. The Dakshin food festival buffet spread is available at $72++ for both lunch and dinner, promising an exclusive night’s out at one of Singapore’s most established hotels.

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Iconic dishes such as the Lamb Veruval, Kodi Kura, Chef Negi’s Special Red Snapper Meen Fish Curry, Sambhar, Idil, Medu Vada and Mysore Aloo Bonda will be featured on the menu at this year’s festival. It is a refreshing part from the restaurant’s standard fare of North Indian cuisine, promising a whole new slate of flavours for this limited period. Excited to see more?

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Visiting Raffles Singapore is always a treat in itself. There’s something about the hotel being situated in the centre of the city yet with limited resident-only access to the main area that gives an elusive and illusive feel altogether. Stepping into the hall, I was already impressed with the colonial architecture from days gone past. The colours of white and tasteful but slightly dull and traditional colours complete the setting.

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In a bid to establish a certain distinction from the rest of the hotels, there were armchairs decked here and there, and just a handful of guests loitering around. This is one hotel lobby that carries a quiet elegance and a subtly stiff atmosphere.

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Residents only within a Residents only compound.

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The Tiffin Room however is open to all guests who wish to dine there.

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Chef de Cuisine Kuldeep Negi is the master chef behind the spread at the Tiffin Room. Coming from India, Chef Negi graduated from Delhi University and quickly found a calling in the art of gastronomy where he then completed a cook’s apprenticeship and trained in the art of Indian gastronomy. Prior to joining Raffles Hotel, Chef Negi was Sous Chef and Kitchen Executive at Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, India.

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The select spread at the Dakshin Food Festival

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Start off with a spread of salads and appetizers to whet the appetite. To give warmth and comfort to the tummy, have a sip of Pineapple Rassam – a traditional welcome drink made from lentil, pineapple and spices.

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A starter that is simple and filling with a subtle flavour of herbs and savoury sweetness throughout is the Onion Uttaman. This flat rice bread with onion and chilli is perfect when served warm or dipped with the curries available.

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Another dish to have is the Idil served with Sambhar. The savoury cakes from South India are made with white lentil and steamed into fluffy goodness. Each piece is then served with a portion of South Indian Lentil and Vegetable Curry.

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The Chicken Chettinad Briyani made up the mains for me. Indian Basmati rice cooked with Star Anise, Cloves, Bay Leaves and spices is given a wonderful puffy fragrance throughout. Each bite is savoury with the nutty flavours of the spices well incorporated with pieces of meaty chicken. The dish is also less oily with less of a sheen and gleen, probably refined for the delicate tastebuds of the more health conscious. I thought it was good but still would prefer a more robust offering with a flavour that would be more pronounced instead of just a quiet afterthought.

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The Lamb Veruyal is to my opinion excellent. Cooked with fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, onion, garlic and coconut, these pieces of chunky lamb were tender to the bite with an absence of its distinctive musky odour. The gravy packs a punch with a thorough sweetness that blends very nicely with the meat and over some briyani.

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The Dhosa is freshly prepared to the order. It will be a good experience for those trying it for the first time but those more acquainted with this will find better options elsewhere.

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That said, I have to give my compliments to chef’s Kashmiri Naan. Out of the naans I’ve tried before, this is my first time having one with a filling of dried cherries, cashew, almonds and raisins. The result? A nutty, savoury, sweet offering that is soothing and comforting with each bite. The naan is best enjoyed warm, on its own or dipped with a side of curry. The occasional burst of sweetness is the main draw for this dish!

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Alternatively, go for the Cheese Naan, a dish that also shines on its own spot in the Naan arena. Chef uses Cheddar as the filling. It is a very interesting choice as the melted cheese is more oily in nature yet still with that salty umami flavour that is distinct and very palatable in each bite. The serving of cheese within is generous, and was beautiful on its own. I really enjoyed this from start to end.

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To add to the spread, have some Deep Fried Prawn with Curry Leaves or Chicken 65.

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The selection of Indian desserts. Sweet as usual =D

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Gulab Jamun

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The Dakshin Food Festival at the Tiffin Room is a simple, decent selection of South Indian culinary delights that will satisfy first time diners seeking for a blend of exclusivity, comfort and top notch service. The spread is limited, but there are occasional gems here and there that will delight the tastebuds of guests. The buffet’s price for both lunch and dinner is for more than just the food alone, and is really meant for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the common restaurant and simply wish to dine with a certain class. It can be thought of as an adventure for the night’s out as it is not everyday one would get a reason to dine at the Tiffin Room. For the regular buffet goer, this visit may be a one-off option just for the experience. But for those who are keen to have a glimpse of Indian cuisine yet still within the confines of a historical building, this could very well be the place to visit. Though it might still be good to pay a visit to Serangoon later on.

Thank you Raffles Singapore for the invitation

The Tiffin Room
Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road
Singapore 189673
Tel: 6412 1816
The Dakshin Food Festival (14th to 25th October)
$72++ per person for lunch or dinner