Paulaner beer (500ml, $15.50-$16) and a Bloody Mary ($12) made with chilli instead of Tabasco sauce is served with dishes like dum mutton briyani ($15), makhni (‘butter’) pasta ($12.80), and fish and chips served with Madras curry sauce ($11.90), made by chefs from India. This primarily alfresco corner bar and café (seats 65 outside, 20 indoors) hopes to attract entrepreneurs in the area and sport-leaning yuppies with its live screening of major sport programmes.
What we tried: Dum seafood biryani
Lowdown: Ignore the outdoor bar stools and this would resemble a sidewalk bistro – black faux-rattan tables fill up the grey-pillared, airy void under the F&B-packed One Shenton residences. While the café only accommodates 20 inside, there’s room for 70 outside under rainproof covering. When dinner comes around, the area’s suits (who work and live here) are the main ones tucking in. While the menu claims to be Anglo-Indian, the establishment’s ‘fusion’ dishes are easy to count on one hand: chicken tikka masala ($14), chicken tikka wrap ($9.90), fish and chips served with madras curry sauce ($11.90) and chicken makhani pasta (pasta in a butter and tomato gravy, $12.80).
What we ate: The dum seafood biryani ($16), cooked in a claypot and sealed with soft, pillow-like, in-house-made naan – a fluffy, edible adornment. Each grain of basmati rice is covered in cardamom, saffron, clove and curry spices, and steamed in root ginger. Uncovering two plump, well-marinated prawns in this steamy Indian rice-pot pie is like finding (edible) crown jewels. We were not fans of the sour paneer tikka ($12), with its unusual part-ricotta, part-marshmallow texture. But the fresh, creamy chicken tikka masala and equally thick, zesty Indian Railway mutton curry ($16) are much better than the mild orange curry and raita that come with the paneer.
The verdict: Arrive hungry for the true North Indian dishes – it’s quality with none of the concerns of lingering spices on your shirt and tresses. Do not – we repeat – not pass this up for the prata shop next door.
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