The location Dempsey Hill is perhaps no stranger for many in the gastronomy world. Nestled amidst lush greenery with a natural dark environment at night, restaurants of all nature and culture cater to the varied tastebuds of its guests.
My visit to Vintage India at Dempsey is in conjunction with Time Out Singapore’s 1st ever Dine Out Event. The name Vintage India itself strikes a distinct memorable past where one is left to imagine what glory and opulence awaits when paired with the fine spicy, robust flavoured and sweet cuisine of India.
A step into the past awaits, when the door … opens.
As a precourse to every meal and for every guest, a serving of spiced rolled poppadums were presented with a serving of tomato chutney and mint dip. Very crispy and the chutney was a wonderful blend of spices and tomato. The mint dip is more scented with a tinge of bitter sweetness that hints closely to that of freshly crushed leaves.
A complimentary serving of Dhokna. Savoury, crumbly, as told by the Captain, this is one dish commonly eaten in India during breakfast.
For tonight, mum and I had the 4 course set menu at $58+. First up, Jeere Ke Kebab. Chicken pieces marinated with cumin paste and tandoori spices, lastly grilled to a tender smoky flavour in the traditional tandoor. The waft of freshly toasted spices coating the chicken is unmistakable in its seductive earthy mellow flavour. Squeeze the slice of lemon for that extra zest which I have to agree adds that final sparkle to the dish.
The serving of Mulligatawny soup (lamb) as the precourse to my main was a very good appetite opener. Piping hot soup, together with a blend of lentil, spices and minced lamb add all to the flavour. Juice the lemon slice over the soup for a startling degree in taste that will leave you wanting the next sip over and over.
Mum’s main course was the Lamb vindaloo. Tender chunky pieces of lamb in a traditional sour chilli gravy, there was a lasting hotness after each bite. Take a little sauce, taste it, enjoy. And suddenly your mouth waters for more.
For me, I had the Murg tikka masala. Chicken braised in a spicy red curry, the gravy carries a sweetness from blended onions and various spices.
For every main in the set meal, an accompaniment of sides will be available. There is the mixed salad , saffron rice, potatoes, mixed vegetables korma and a serving of na’an. The most ideal side I had was the mixed vegetable korma with its sweet creamy texture from the paste of cashew nuts. The subtle flavours of this side toned down the spiciness from the main and complements well with a smooth and satisfying consistency.
The butter na’an also does not fail to impress. When the Captain placed the basket of na’ans down, I was immediately struck by the sweet savoury scent of melted butter brushed against the warm surface of the Indian bread. Tempting, yes.
A tasting portion of the restaurant’s specialty, Samarkand prawns $28, was presented after the mains. Fresh tiger prawn stuffed with layers of minced crab meat, the final product is topped generously with a blend of spices and tandoori paste and left to grill in the tandoor. Each portion evokes a lasting sense of umaminess and satisfaction from enjoying different layers of meat and textures.
The set’s dessert was the Mutha Lychee Phirnee, which is pounded rice cooked in milk and fresh lychee paste. Left thereafter to chill in the fridge, the mixture becomes pudding like in consistency with a sweet taste and creamy interior. The sweetness level was acceptable for me, and I enjoyed this dish to the end.
After the whole meal, a box of 4 different types of spices was introduced. Known as a palate cleanser after either lunch or dinner, tonight’s variety consisted of cardommon, sugar coated aniseed, dried rose petals and spices, chopped betel nut leaves and spices.
Private dining room is also available with majestic names like Maharajah and exquisite decor.
The setting of the restaurant is very classically European. A step into the past?
Extensive bar and wine counter is also available to pair with the spicy dishes
Vintage India takes a refreshing yet memorable stand in presenting fine Indian cuisine to its guests. By presenting dishes in a pre-independent era, classics of the past is preserved and the beauty of Indian food culture is portrayed in another perspective. Most of the dishes are excellent tasting with full robust flavours which will tingle the tastebuds for the second bite. While the price might be more than average, the prompt service, knowledgeable staff, good tasting food and a setting set in time makes the value all the more worth it.
From what I have experienced, Vintage India is not just about Indian Cuisine, it is also about how rich history and tradition from different worlds can meet to form a beautiful harmony. A harmony where the past becomes alive.
Many Thanks to Ruby Tan from Time Out Singapore for the invitation. Thank You Arjay from Vintage India for your excellent service.
This visit is in conjunction with Time Out Singapore’s 1st Dine Out Tasting Event. The tasting event will be held on 29 September at The Fullerton Hotel with 10 participating restaurants present. Click here to find out more!
Vintage India 10 Dempsey Road
Tel : 6471 3100
Website : http://www.palatevine.com.sg