More than just another me-too

Mar 10, 2013, 11:03 IST | Moeena Halim

Bandra's over-populated restaurant scene has a new Asian member. With innovative additions to the all too familiar Pan-Asian menu and a host of delicious cocktails, SingKong shows a lot of promise

As we walk into Bandra’s latest eatery SingKong, we can’t help but wonder, does Mumbai need yet another Asian restaurant? Considering it replaces one of the less popular Pan-Asian joints Tasty Tangles, we’re keen to know what the same management has in store for us this time round. We are barely halfway through our meal when we realise we’re not going to be disappointed.

Our meal begins with the Pandan Leaf Wrapped Spiced Cottage Cheese (Rs 275), which the chef serves with a homemade Coriander Chilli Soy sauce. With the sauce, the paneer is perfection; but without, it is a tad too salty, complains our vegetarian companion.

Oriental Shrimp Nest at SingKong. pics/Kiran Bhalerao

We sample another vegetarian appetiser, Rock Corn (described on the menu as Sriracha mayo spiced corn fritters; Rs 225), before the piece de resistance — the Oriental Shrimp Nest (Rs 395) — is brought to the table. Coated with strips of golden fried shredded spring roll pastry, the shrimp sticks are presented in shot glasses — each containing a portion of a sweet chilli sauce. Most interesting, however, are the thin sugarcane sticks that hold the crispy batter-fried shrimps together. Yes, you’re supposed to chew the juicy sweet sticks, the chef tells us.

Their drinks menu is just as extensive and inventive as the food. One sip and we know why we are recommended the Thai Basil Martini (vodka, fresh basil leaves, coconut syrup, pineapple juice; Rs 375). If you’d prefer something less sweet, try the other vodka-based Galangal & Lemongrass Martini (Rs 375).

A thumbs up to the only non-citrusy mocktail on their menu, the Watermelon Colada (Rs 150), too.

The restaurant’s live sushi counter, which hasn’t been set up yet when we visit (we are here for a preview), is bound to be quite a crowd-puller. We sample two kinds — the California Uramaki (Rs 445) which has crabstick, avocado, and sesame seeds and the Crispy All Green Uramaki (Rs 395) with asparagus, avocado & cucumber. While we can’t fault the crab, even our vegetarian (sushi-averse) companion enjoyed the veggie Maki, which had crispy rice on the outside.

When the Exotic Vegetables & Shitake Nest is served, it becomes clear that Chef Shiva Chettri and Sancho’s Chef Vikas Seth, who was also in-charge of the kitchen of Tasty Tangles, have taken pains to create a menu that looks as exciting as it tastes. Unfortunately, this dish was a slight disappointment.

While the nest is light and flaky, the filling lacks character.

The Pan Roast Black Pepper Chicken Steamed Open Bun (Rs 185), served with pickled cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce, is a delightful take on the traditional Japanese stuffed steamed bun. The dimsums, too sticky and low on flavour, however are a bit lacklustre. We got an Assorted Non-Vegetarian Dim Sum basket (9 pcs; Rs 425), which included crystal shrimp, fish and sesame, and an aromatic spicy chicken. The fish, we must add, was saved by the black and white sesame seeds, which added a beautifully nutty flavour and texture.

Main course dishes — Celery and Garlic Rice (Rs 225) and Singapore Noodles (Rs 325) — are sure to be a hit with the lets-play-it-safes. We’re glad we end our meal with the far more exciting homemade litchi ice cream served in baby waffle cones.

Just as we are walking out, we are told that their soups are excellent too. Oh well, we sigh thinking of the open buns and the shrimp sticks, there’s definitely going to be a next time.

At: Pinnacle House, 1st floor, PD Hinduja Marg, Khar (W)
Call: 67094444
This was a preview and we cannot comment on the service or the ambience

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