I can vividly recall a few years ago when I first gave Mirchi - Taste of India a try at their now-defunct restaurant at the transit area of Changi Airport. At that time, I ordered a nice platter of vegetable kebab, as well as rasgulla (Indian cottage cheese balls in sugar syrup). I've just found out recently that they've been in business at Esplanade Mall since 2003.
Does Pikachu look like an Indian prince, waiting to gobble his food? Well, my friends and I couldn't wait to dig in as well!
Bombay Papdi Chaat S$7.00
We started with soft potato chunks that were served atop crisp crackers for appetiser. They were drizzled generously with tamarind chutney that was predominantly sweet with a palatable sour taste tossed in tamarind chutney, as well as mint yogurt that gave a zing on the tongue.
Tandoori Vegetable Kebab Platter S$21.00
Yes, it was the same platter that I ordered a few years ago, and I can assure you that the one pictured above was visually more appealing than what I had at Changi Airport. My favourite item was the patty made of potatoes, peas and spinach. The cottage cheese was nice to bite, while the mushrooms were quite juicy. Another item was the minced vegetable patty that went well with the mint yogurt served on the side. Pika's advice: Meat lovers may want to order the meat kebab platter instead, comprising chicken, lamb and fish.
Butter Chicken S$17.00
Known to be the crowd pleaser in North Indian cuisine, the butter chicken was delicious. The white meat was tender with its heady aroma from the cooking process in a tandoor, simmered in a rich concoction of tomatoes, butter, cream and fenugreek, a herbal remedy that helps in reducing cholesterol (although its effect would be overshadowed by the other ingredients).
Palak Paneer S$14.00
It's a dish that I've always put into the acid test whenever I go to a North Indian restaurant. Frankly speaking, the one that I had there wasn't fantastic, bordering to the point of being slightly cloying to my palate. The cottage cheese cubes inside the spinach purée wasn't as good as those in the kebab platter, and the ground spices used in the dish weren't aromatic enough.
Garlic Naan S$4.00
Out of a few selections of bread to accompany the two creamy dishes mentioned above, I went for the soft and fluffy naan (Indian leavened bread cooked in a clay oven) topped with adequate amounts of garlic and coriander. They weren't overly thin. being slightly crispy around the edges.
Seafood Biryani S$18.00
First of all, don't get too high a hope with the seafood items in this particular slow-cooked saffron-infused basmati rice. I could only find prawns and fish fillets, but they were by no means unappetising, even though they could be juicier. The raita, a creamy yogurt condiment infused with roasted cumin and mint leaves, served on the side was awesome.
Apparently, rasgulla has been taken out of the restaurant's dessert menu. Instead, one can find its sister dish of cow cheese patties poached in saffron-infused milk and topped with crushed pistachios. I enjoyed the lightly sweet milk that was neither too thick nor too thin, it being absorbed well by the enjoyably soft, airy and slightly chewy patties.
The restaurant claims itself to be the "perfect dining destination for a convivial dining experience". Perfect would be an overstatement, but I was thankful of the amiable service rendered by the two male staff that evening. Moreover, I enjoyed the laid-back ambience.
Mirchi - Taste of India
8 Raffles Avenue
#02-23 Esplanade Mall
(Daily: 12 noon - 2.30pm, 6.00pm - 10.30pm)
*Prices quoted are subject to 10% service charge and 7% GST.
Have a nice meal,