While going budget seems to be the trend these days, it does not apply across to all the decisions we make daily. Sure we may be able to endure a 2 hour flight to Bangkok without the frills, but when it comes to greater life choices like food for the soul, we here at Six&Seven take food very seriously. And quality dining experience do come with a hefty price tag at times.
While we thoroughly enjoyed the reinvented Rang Mahal @ Pan Pacific Singapore, its newly opened sister branch – Table by Rang Mahal, offers a cheaper alternative to the exquisite experience we had the last time. Unfortunately, when the owners decide to cut corners on their well-acclaimed restaurant, we suspect they also cut the chef’s culinary training hours. The classy feel to the restaurant was synonymous with the original restaurant, but we could not quite say the same for the food.
While the menu has been divided into starters and mains, the kitchen felt differently and served all the dishes at one go. What seemed like an hour’s wait, which I found rather odd given there was only one other couple dining there besides us, all the dishes arrived to cluster our tiny table – think Singapore’s 6.9 population forecast for 2030. The Tandoori Pancer Tikka ($15) that consisted of cubes of Indian cottage cheese wrapped in yoghurt masala sounded more impressive on the menu than on the palate. Flavours were barely noticeable, and I found myself questioning if I had been served a Tau Kwa instead in an Indian restaurant.
The Patiala Aubergine ($18) gave an interesting take on baby aubergines dipped in a tangy tomato gravy and pickled spices. The aubergines were cooked to a mash consistency, blending in well with the chef’s choice of gravy. On the other hand, the Gobi Matter ($16) did not fare as well. The dish did come across as Indian’s take on the traditional American’s mixed vegetables, and it would have fared much better should the chef had cooked the cauliflowers a tad longer.
In my opinion, no Indian meal is complete without the presence of Butter Chicken ($18). The cubes of chicken were tandoor-grilled before simmering in the rich tomato gravy. Among all the dishes we had, this Indian classic was one of the better ones we had for the night.
The Kashmiri Rogan Josh ($22) came a close second, with the servings of lamb well simmered in a fennel flavoured gravy. The meat was tender, and thankfully was absent of the gaminess that usually plagues lamb; but that is just a personal preference. We also had the Bengali Fish Masala ($22) – a dish of chunks of sea bass tossed in mustard and spices. Frankly, it looked more like chunks of sea bass tossed in whatever leftover curry was found in the kitchen. While the seafood was indeed fresh, the dish gelled together as well as oil and water.
As much as rice or naan is essential to pair with any Indian dishes, Table by Rang Mahal disappointed on both aspects. The Brown &Red Rice Pilaf ($12) may appeal to the health enthusiast, but it was nothing more than steamed brown rice. The Naans ($5) too were difficult to stomach. Its excessive flour-y taste left me reminiscent of the pizza crusts from Pizza Hut that I often toss away.
The classic dessert, also found in Rang Mahal – Gulab Jamun ($8), was thankfully consistent; although I had my suspicions that the restaurant staff went round the block to Pan Pacific Singapore to get them. Nevertheless, it ended the meal nicely on a sweet note. But that may have been sugar high talking.
Table by Rang Mahal, if I dare say, is a cheaper knock off version of the original Rang Mahal, riding solely on its brand name. Food standard wise was miles apart from what we have come to love, albeit acknowledging it is a cheaper alternative. Nevertheless, I would rather spend a couple of extra bucks at Rang Mahal for a more experiential Indian dinner.
Table by Rang Mahal
41 Seah Street
Tel: +65 6403 6005
Lunch: 12pm – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.30pm