Yantra sits peacefully and undisturbed in a corner of Tanglin Mall; a perfect, central location for hanging out without being constantly scrutinized by passer-by every other second.
Though a modern fine-dining restaurant, Yantra offers an opportunity for the otherwise uptight dinner to be interactive and fun with their open kitchen concept.
Now you can (quietly) play a game of truth-or-dare with your dining companions. And when one chooses dare, dare them to volunteer making their own naan at the tandoor. While it might seem easy with the Chef doing it day in day out, the cylindrical clay oven can actually go up to 480 degree celsius. To think they can get their naked hand in and out of it, each time lasting a few seconds, is amazing. Making your own naan is at no extra charges.
The Private Dining Room is available for booking for both lunch and dinner. Minimum spending applies, at $500 for lunch and $1,000 for dinner. It can take 8 – 10 people in the room.
It’s a hidden cave, the restaurant itself. It is 650 square metres big (about 5 times your normal size of 5-room HDB flat), for its indoor area, and another about 350 square metres reserved for its alfresco area. If you want to hold a big party, here is it.
If you are working in the Tanglin area, you are in for a treat. For only $19 before taxes, you get to enjoy a lunch buffet from 12pm – 3pm, Monday – Thursday. I mean, dining anywhere else in the Orchard area already burns a hole in your pocket anyway. It’s $25 on Friday and Saturday.
Broccoli Cheddar Tikki ($29++) :: Thankful that it doesn’t have a strong raw broccoli taste, not exactly a fan of vegetables here. The pineapple dip made the otherwise dull starter more appetizing. It’s fused with cheese and bell peppers; some sweetness and spiciness to open up your palate. Soft and easy to slide in your main course after this.
Cottage Cheese stuffed with Crunchy Walnut ($29++) :: As with other Indian food, especially this Cottage Cheese, is to be consumed piping hot. When it’s cooled, the layers of puffs and cheese would dry off, harden and ruin the taste. It is coated with cardamom and mace flavored creamy marinade.
Skewered Grilled Chicken ($31++) :: The danger of grilled dishes is it becoming too dry and flaky. Unfortunately, the latter happened. While it remained adequately moist inside, the texture was rather rough. That being said, I like that it’s sufficiently marinated with curry leaves. Comes with mustard.
Chicken Marinated with Coriander, Chilies and Cumin ($34++) :: My favorite appetizer of the night. It’s chicken meat skewered with chili bottoms. Distinct flavors of the marination – citrusy, peppery, spicy and nutty.
Mutton Pepper Fry ($29++) :: Save for its excessive salt, the dish was perfect. What I like about Indian Restaurants is when they say it’s pepper fry, they mean it and don’t give no mercy. The flavors were bursting with every bite of the tender meat. It’s stir-fried with onion rings and cumin as well.
Grilled Halibut with Coriander and Spinach Gravy ($42++) :: I was very skeptical when I first saw spinach gravy. But I can count on an Indian Restaurant to make the vegetables taste right. The gravy can be easily swept aside to taste the freshness of halibut, and picking it back for the added fragrance. The seafood was perfectly executed – soft, moist and not flaky.
Biriyani with Marinated Lamb ($39++) :: Being cooked with extra long grain basmati rice, the Biriyani is especially fragrant with hints of pandan-like aroma. It also seems to be tougher in nature, harder to break down, and thus giving a reasonable bite to the course. The lamb thrown in did not mix too much with rice, thus still keeping its original flavors. I like how the meat was so soft it eased in with the rice without effort. It is also available with Chicken ($37++) and Vegetables ($31++).
Oysters with Chili Ice Cream & Cress ($49++) :: The most intriguing style of oysters yet. Think slightly peppery, tangy and ice cold spiciness with oysters. Encouraged to pair it with crackers. I love the refreshing taste.
Naan ($8 – $15++) :: An Indian meal wouldn’t be complete without naan. Not too oily, and generously flavored, Naans can be found from ordinary flavors like Garlic to the more exotic ones like Blue Cheese and Sundried Tomato. I say they’ve hit this on a home run.
Masala Chaas ($9++) :: If you’re not a wine person like me, Yantra has some pretty kick ass non-alcoholic beverage list. Crash course. While Lassi is water blended with yoghurt, a Chaas is the liquid left after extracting the butter. I loved the Mango Lassi ($10++), used with extraordinary India-acquired Mango flavors; rich and thick. The Masala Chaas was too much for me though. If you are a Masala person, you should go for this because it’s really strong.
The restaurant was quite packed the entire night. If you see Indians going in and out of the restaurant, you know you can expect authentic tastes. I must confess – I don’t usually like Indian cuisines because of its loud spices and flavors, but I quite enjoyed this one here.
—> Note #1: Though it’s not Halal-certified due to its alcohol service, all food served are halal.
Special gratitude to Sheryl and the Huntington team, and Dharmendra and the Yantra team for the hospitality and hosting the invited tasting.
Address: 163 Tanglin Road, #01-28 / 33, Tanglin Mall
Telephone: 6836 3088 (Takes Reservation)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm (Daily); 6.30pm – 10pm (Weekdays); 6.30pm – 11pm (Weekends)