Do you think it’s true what they say about restaurants? You know, if you go to a Chinese restaurant and you look inside, and if it’s full of Chinese people, that means it’s a good Chinese restaurant. Well, if that’s the case, then Rang Mahal would definitely qualify. When I lunched there last month, it was filled with power lunching Indian businessman and families enjoying the exquisitely prepared food and posh atmosphere, and then there was me with my pink polo shirt and sunburn to match.
Rang Mahal is not only a restaurant, rather an institution of fine Indian cuisine. Located on the third floor of the swanky Pan Pacific Hotel, it’s been here since 1971, but was completely renovated about 3 years ago. It has received numerous awards and is consistently rated one of the best restaurants in Singapore. As a sometime skeptic, I usually have an “I’ll be the judge of that” kind of attitude, but there is something about this place that can’t be denied.
As you enter the restaurant you are instantly aware of the ‘play’ of light and dark. It feels mysterious and ethnic, but at the same time clean and modern. The reflecting pool instantly sets the tone for an exceptional experience. Inside, you find dark wood contrasted by light limestone, illuminated by silk ombré fixtures hanging over brass water bowls filled with blossoms. As you walk down into the expansive dining room you can see through to the open kitchen, which gives you a glance into the chef’s world of efficiency and creativity.
The food here is innovative and fresh, but rooted in tradition. All the freshest components go into the cooking here and everything is made from scratch. They get the best ingredients from around the world like mussels from New Zealand, saffron from Spain, and Australian lamb. You can even taste the fresh herbs and techniques in the simplest of condiment and sauces, such as the mint chutney which offers just the right amount of herbal hit and creamy texture without being overpowering. The restaurant also offers more healthful and vegetarian options than you will find anywhere else.
As is typical of many Indian establishments, lunchtime is bustling. With an extensive buffet filled with a full range of options, who could resist? All the dishes were expertly prepared with bold flavors that complimented one another rather than clash. One of the highlights is a cashew lamb korma that was complex and filled with mellow spice. I was also treated to a dessert that consisted of small rings of batter fried in ghee, soaked in a saffron syrup, and served with a cardamom laced reduced milk topped with pistachios. It was so good I couldn’t stand it. Even the tea here is remarkable; it is their own house blend that is the result of a complex process of blending and reduction.
The service was just an added bonus here. The handsome all-male staff was welcoming and professional, but with that bit of distance that lets you know that you are dining in a fine restaurant. The staff was very receptive to questions about the food and restaurant when asked, but they were not the ‘chit chat’ type. The attitude was reserved and knowledgeable…. there when you need them, and not bothering you when you don’t, (which is this diner’s favorite kind of service).
When in Singapore, I highly recommend checking this place out. It’s not cheap but I think it’s a good value for the quality and plus. . . . you deserve it! Just leave your flip-flops and shorts at home, make reservations, and prepare yourself to be impressed.
7 Raffles Boulevard