I’ve not stepped into a restaurant as ornate and bedecked as Firangi Superstar. Its intentions of transporting guests to the oasis that is the Jungle Lodge and Railway Room—amidst the familiar and bustling Craig Road—is a successful one as you disregard the realities of our mid-pandemic world.
It’s been said that its name proves to be a matter of contention, given that ‘firangi’ is a slang referring to ‘foreigner, especially a British or a white person’. But the owners have cast this debate aside to instead, embrace the outsider’s perspective and expressing holistic appreciation for India, by erecting a brick-and-mortar love letter to the storied country.
You can’t dine here without a momentary pause of awe, especially for the thorough effort that’s on display—from the furniture to the adorned walls, and every crevice in between.
What I tried
While the essence of Firangi Superstar lies in India’s beauty, there are several nods to other cuisines around the world—take for example the Beirut Bhatura (S$12). It’s a spin on hummus that’s peppered with pomegranate, made with celeriac, has chickpea masala, and eaten with bhatura.
I won’t lie; the bhatura completes this appetiser so convincingly that I nearly forget that the star should be the celeriac hummus. No matter, it gives me more reason to sinfully tear pieces of bhatura for myself and give the hummus a hearty dunk. A chunky scoop allows me to savour the sweet burst of pomegranate coupled with the depth of chickpea masala—all culminating in one satisfying bite.
I believe one of the best dishes to start any meal—and I mean, any meal—is with a ceviche. Here, the Sothi Fresh (S$22) lives up to its name of certainly being ‘fresh’, but also serving its purpose of freshening my palate—to wipe the slate clean for my decadent lunch ahead. Wading calmly in a pool of chilled sothi with Kashmiri chilli oil, the ceviche looks almost too lovely to destroy.
But in the name of this review, I must, and I guiltlessly take a hefty spoonful of every morsel said spoon can accommodate. Instant gratification hits me sooner than I can look up to join in the idle chatter that’s going around the table and I blissfully sink into my seat to relish the dish.
With a name like Sacred Samosa (S$26), it would seem this dish deserves to stand on its very own pedestal. Thankfully, it proved its worth the very moment crisp samosa skin crumbled down on the soft chew of Wagyu beef tartare. Take a cheeky swipe of the lime pickle aioli drizzled on the plate for a pleasant punch of mint, coriander, green chilli, and shallots.
Now, this—this is the dish that’s gotten the media talkin’ and my tummy rumblin’. Sure, it’s essentially an Asian spin on chicken and waffles, but can you really say no to comfort and familiarity? Firangi Superstar’s Prata Waffle ??? (S$24) is not as confusing as those triple question marks show.
Madras-style fried chicken is semi-enclosed in waffle-pressed prata, but not before a butter chicken sauce accompanies it to the stage. Eat it how you like—disassemble it with your hands or perform a dainty dissection with a fork and knife. Either way, you’ll be greeted with lusciously tender chicken whose crunchy battered shell will have you cleaning the plate of every tittynope in sight.
Having only tried beef saddle, Firangi Superstar honoured me with my virgin experience of lamb saddle with their Indian Saddle (S$19 per 100g). A hunky piece of lamb porterhouse is marinated in spiced yoghurt, tenderising the meat while infusing it with flavour, before cooking in the tandoor.
The result? An irrefutably succulent serving of lamb slices that’ll have you searching the table for more pita bread to complement this amazing main.
Turning the classic gulab jamun on its head, here we have the Chocolate Jamun (S$15) to surprise us. The gulab jamun is macerated in saffron cardamom syrup for a pop of herbaceous fun amidst the house-made cardamom vanilla ice cream. Trust the chocolate crumble to lend a subtle sweetness to the dessert—just like a reliable old friend who’s always got your back.
Controversy surrounding its name slowly dissipates as I come towards the end of the meal, as I realise the food and ambience is really what everyone should concern themselves with. It’s a jollification of modern Indian cuisine that you can’t help being enamoured by, bite after bite. The flavours are precise, the presentation slick, and the experience something that’s worth considering even for first dates.
However, do note that this is an adult-only establishment, with no one under the age of 15 allowed. Also, they do follow a dress code, so ladies (and gentlemen), I recommend dusting off one of your best dresses for this occasion.
Expected damage: S$45 – S$60 per pax
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
20 Craig Road, #01-03, Singapore 089692
20 Craig Road, #01-03, Singapore 089692