Vibe Existing in Holiday Inn’s basement for nearly three decades, this north Indian stalwart has been reinvigorated thanks to a new renovation and revamp (their first in 28 years). Wisely casting aside its ornate trappings for more modern sensibilities, Tandoor has replaced the heavy brocades and gaudy fountain with a brighter dining area lit by chandeliers, latticed wall panels and alabaster pillars. The service is top-notch – if a little uppity at times – and the restaurant regales diners with colourful tales about its dishes.
Food The Dinner Gourmet Trails – $48 and $68 per person – incorporate a large chunk of what’s on the à la carte menu, so it’s always the superior option; the $68 set offers a whopping 16 dishes for a little taste of everything. For starters, both the samosa chaat and pudina murg shorba ($10), a rich chicken broth perked up with fresh mint and a spicy scallop on the side, impressed, and paved the way for more good things to come as the restaurant’s custom-made twin copper tandoors produce excellent kebabs and tikkas, like the buttery honey dill jumbo prawns spiced with red chillies ($25/$48).
Tandoor’s signature curries are reliable as always, but the highlights are the new mango curry ($22), a unique sweet-savoury creation made using ripe mangoes, and the Goan Fish ($28), a small steak-sized hunk of succulent ocean perch doused in a tangy spiced coconut curry and served tableside from a sizzling hotplate. Dessert is probably the only quibble we had; the trio of rose-infused panna cotta, Bailey’s kulfi ice cream and a nutty carrot puree included in the set couldn’t sustain our interest.
Drinks An impressive wine list and specialty, yet affordably priced, cocktails like the Bollywood Bellini and Chai Mojito (both $11) are the stars, but kudos goes to the mango lassi ($9) – deceptively thin, it’s a lush, creamy drink that slides down the throat like molten gold.
Verdict Tandoor’s revamp is proof that it’s still possible to be exciting and different despite its venerable status.