A Happy New Year to all my readers out there. May 2010 be a year of momentous joy and delightful spirits. The decade has gone by and now its a renewal of beginnings for us all. As I craft this article, the riveting music of The Prayer sung by Celine Dion and Josh Groban is being played in the background, and their powerful voices have done nothing else but to leave moments of inspirational shivers through me. Within me I feel, this year is going to be a special year for us all.
Time to say goodbye to the year of 2009.
I have always wanted to visit Shahi Maharani. The exquisite exterior of the restaurant has always beckoned me to wonder what beauty lay inside. And during the Christmas week break, I took the opportunity to have a lunch buffet at the restaurant.
Its always beautiful when you first step into an enchanting restaurant with decor that will leave you impressed. Vivid browns and maroon adorn the interior, with fine pieces of selected crafts placed strikingly within the enclaves of the wall.
For the lunch buffet, there is a decent spread of salads, chutneys, and pickled vegetables.
The key highlight for me was the decadently rich Mango Chutney. Sweet and with an air of that well rounded tang, the pickled mango is laden with bright flavours and zesty textures.
When it comes to the mains, there is a humble spread of nine dishes. I must admit that the Peas Pillau was particularly light yet flavoursome, with a handsome coating of yellow that leaves a tempting desire after each bite. Goes very well with the mango chutney.
The Kalimirch Kebab Chicken presented itself simply but within the layers of white meat, is an infusion of lavish herbs and spices. When it comes to North Indian cuisine, the strength lies in the generous yet contrastingly delicate use of well rounded spices and herbs to bring out the deep flavours of each dish.
Think meatballs, and what I had was the Chicken Kofta. Juicy and succulent with a well braising of the sauces within each ball, the taste was surprisingly light and not too heavy.
The Fish Metki is also another rich flavourful dish. For this version at Shahi Maharani, the sauce that the fish pieces were cooked in remain largely on the surface. Leaving a good differentiation in flavours for a clear crisp interior with a tasty exterior.
I tried both the garlic and butter naans. Its nice when the naans arrive warm and toasty as the rich aroma of garlic and butter permeates the air. However, its flavour did not match up to the fragrance, and it was a little too much for one serving each.
Nonetheless, pairing the naans with the Rogan Josh was a very good move. The Rogan Josh is like a deep curry with spicy flavours and a tender hotness to it. The pieces of meat were also tender and brittle to the bite.
I had the Vegetable Shahi Korma as the last main to sample. It look deceptively hot with all its obvious spices and red colouring. Except that I enjoyed it as it was tasty dish that did not overwhelm the palate.
Shahi Maharani has an a-la-carte menu apart from its weekday lunch buffet items. As recommended by the assistant manager, I ordered the Tawa Jheenga. The dish is a hot plate of TIger Prawns marinated with spices which were then grilled over a hot iron griddle and served sizzling. Of course when the dish arrived, heads turned from almost every table as the sonorous oil splattering out of the hot plate were only attention grabbers.
When it comes to flavours, the natural seafood freshness of the prawns were heavily masked by the marinade. The smoky texture accented the heavy flavours till the distinguishable mark of prawns is hidden. For $25.00 of a serving with five prawns, this is one dish that I would certainly take time to enjoy and revel in its tastes.
Clockwise : Gulab Jamun, Besan Burfi, Vermicelli with Milk and Spices
There were a decent spread of desserts, but the most unique of all were the Gulab Jamun, Besan Burfi and the Vermicelli with Milk and Spices.
For the Gulab Jamun, the dessert is shaped like a ball and is made with flour and milk, thereafter fried and then soaked in a heavy sugary syrup that is laced with saffron. Very sweet, tempting and ultra sinful.
The Besan Burfi, cubed sweets that left me innately surprised when I took my first bite. The texture is almost indescribable as each bite made the sweet crumble easily, only to reveal a hidden flavour of sweetness and a touch of savouriness. I had one after another after another after another after another….
Mum loved the Vermicelli with Milk and spices as it was a cool refreshing dessert that was creamy, sweet and light to the palate. Good enough for more than 1 portion I must say.
Every day (except Tuesdays), a nightly live performance will be played by band entertaining with pieces from the popular Bollywood scene to the classics of songs from India.
The weekday lunch buffet currently goes at a promotional price of $38.88 ++ for a 1 for 1 deal. And although the spread is not extensive, the value paid for the ambience and an exposure into North Indian cuisine makes the buffet well worth it.
When it comes to decor, Shahi Maharani is a place to impress. Hopefully, I will be going back to check out the live band performance.
252 North Bridge Road
#03-21B Raffles City Shopping Centre