By Emma Hillman
Diwali, or Deepavali in Singapore, is an assault on the senses. The streets of Singapore’s Little India are festooned with brightly colored garlands and lanterns, the heady aroma of exotic spices hangs in the air and stalls are set out selling all manner of sweet and savory snacks to seduce your taste buds. Full immersion in this cultural experience is a treat unto itself, but eating out over Deepavali need not be all about the rough charm of sampling street food. Singapore is also home to a variety of high-end Indian restaurants that are fine spots to indulge during the Festival of Lights.
Shahi Maharani is a family affair, with owner, Kishore Mirpuri, continuing her mother’s legacy of traditional cuisine to be enjoyed surrounded by regal opulence. Ordinarily, the restaurant’s flagship fare hails from North India, but for this year’s Deepavali, its festive selection showcases the very best of what each corner of the country has to offer. Their ‘Colourful India – A Diwali Gastronomic Weekend’ lunch menu runs from October 25 to 28 and includes Chaats from Mumbai, Sarson ka Saag & Butter Chicken from Punjab, Laal Maas & Ghatte ki Subzi from Rajasthan, Rogan Josh & Yakhni from Kashmir, to name but a few dishes. For evening eating over the festival period, dine beneath twinkling oil lamps while listening to live musicians performing ghazals and Bollywood tunes.
252 North Bridge Road #03-21B Raffles City Shopping Centre
Punjab Grill Singapore
The Punjab Grill, nestling in the Marina Bay Sands complex, portrays the glamour of Indian royalty and is the first Punjab Grill outside India. It brings gourmet food from Lahore, Peshwar, Rawalpindi, Kabul, Amritsar, Multan and Patiala, all of which are located the northwest Indian region of Punjab and gastronomic power houses in their own right. Though the founding father of the Punjab Grill, Jiggs Kalra, passed away earlier this year, the mark he leaves is still evident through modern twists on favorites, such as the Punjab Grill Butter Chicken, Tandoori Lamb Chops, Coastal Prawn Curry and Barramundi Tikka.
B1-01A, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, South Podium, 2 Bayfront Avenue
On paper, Rang Mahal is the oldest Indian fine-dining restaurants in Singapore. It first opened in 1971 at the now defunct Imperial Hotel, but reopened at the Pan Pacific in 2001, where its more modern concept is gourmet buffet dining during the day, and Indian fine-dining by night. Chef Milind Sovani, formerly of The Song of India, lists on his menu elegantly plated signature dishes, such as his soup, Tomato Saar with Mulethi Herb Foam, sharing platter, Roomali Masala Papad, Tandoori Fondue – An Ensemble of Kebabs, Dhuwandaar Lamb Chops and Bombay Pani Poori.
Level 3, Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard
The Song of India
Set back behind lush greenery at 33 Scotts Road sits a black and white house, and if you venture inside, you’ll be welcomed to multi-award winning The Song of India. The restaurant earned its first Michelin star in 2016, and although credit for this accolade is bestowed unto Chef Milind Sovani, Chef Manjunath Mural now deftly holds the reins, bringing guests a modern Indian cuisine fine-dining experience that won’t break the bank. Celebrants of the festival may feast from the restaurant’s Special Diwali Brunch Buffet between November 27 and 28 and highlights include locally inspired dishes, such as Chargrilled Laksa Chicken Kebab and Sambal Barramundi Tikka, as well as their Deepavali Song’s Art Palette platter, which includes Nargisi Quails Kofta (quails eggs stuffed with minced mutton), Mangalorian Prawn Gassi (tiger prawns topped with a creamy coconut sauce) and Murg Malai Khumb (chicken roulade).
33 Scotts Road
The Tiffin Room
The Tiffin Room was officially named Raffles Hotel’s main dining room in 1976, and it has maintained its air of traditional, colonial fine-dining ever since, with whitewashed walls, high ceilings, wooden fans and polished silverware inspired by ornate tiffin carriers – the lunch boxes commonly used in India. The concept carries through to the way in which the restaurant’s North Indian delicacies are served, in that diners are presented with an interactive dining experience, picking and choosing from up to four tiffin carrier trays. Savory selections include Kadhai Lobster, tiger prawn Jhinga Kebabs, Scallops Coconut Curry, Kashmiri Lamb and Tiffin Dal Makhani.
Grand Lobby, Raffles Singapore, 1 Beach Rd