Love leads people to do crazy things. For founders Michael Goodman and Rohit Roopchand of The Dandy Collection (the group behind brands like Neon Pigeon and Fat Prince), it has led them to the creation of Firangi Superstar.
In their words, the venue is a love letter to India, and you can definitely see that passion expressed vividly. There’s great detail embellished in the interiors of the modern Indian restaurant and cocktail bar, which shows the amount of fascination and intrigue the duo has with the South Asian nation.
It’s a sort of romanticised, cinematic version of India. Just think The Darjeeling Limited, and you’ll get the gist. It’s all about whimsically embracing that outsider (thus the name Firangi, which means foreigner), rose-tinted glass view of India.
All the dining areas are themed. From the properly posh Officer’s Room near the entrance, all the way to the wilderness of the Jungle Lodge tucked away to the back, you’ll find decals, mounts, paintings, and all sorts of set pieces that add plenty of flavour to the interiors of each zone.
Speaking of flavours, there’s plenty to be had at Firangi Superstar. The food here, best described as modern Indian, will please diners looking for fare done with finesse, but still oh-so intense and satisfying.
For his menu here, head chef Thiru Gunasakaran, formerly from Spago by Wolfgang Puck, melds his fine dining chops with his intimate knowledge of Indian food, which he simply knew as food he “ate at home”.
The Chutney & Raita (S$10-14) is a great starter. Housemade dips like roasted pistachio chutney, jackfruit cucumber raita, garlic dried chilli chutney and more, served alongside papadams and crackers, will get your appetite going.
Fans of sothi will find his Sothi Fresh (S$22) looking nothing like the classic dish, yet still containing all the components of the original. It’s more akin to a ceviche, where chunks of fresh snapper are lightly cooked in nothing but dressing. The ceviche is then laid atop a thick and tangy curry sauce on a plate. The result? A supremely addictive and textural dish.
His This Is Not Aloo Gobi (S$16) has that same genre-defying, tongue-in-cheek spin on its namesake dish. Not your typical aloo gobi (as expected from the name), this item sees cauliflower done three ways – as cous cous, florets, and puree – then topped with crispy potato layered in melted ghee and masala compote.
There’s also a peculiar dish cheekily named Prata Waffle ??? (S$24; and no, it’s not a typo) on the menu. Meant to convey how we shouldn’t take eating too seriously, but rather focus on its enjoyment, this elevated take on chicken and waffles using Indian cuisine like butter chicken and prata, shows off chef Thiru’s ability to be creative and fun with his menu.
For mains, the Indian Saddle (S$19/100g) is a must. Lamb porterhouse is marinated in a spiced yogurt, then cooked using the tandoor, resulting in slices of meat so tender and brimming with spices, you’ll keep going for another. Even those who don’t typically enjoy lamb might have their minds changed with this one.
If you, like us, are also here for the cocktails, then rest assured you won’t be disappointed. Whether you’re pulling up a seat by the gorgeous bar counter, or having a tipple along with your meal, there’s a drink for every mood.
Various spirits and flavours from India play prominently in both their dedicated 8-drink gin and tonic menu, as well as their main 12-drink cocktail menu. Go for the G&Ts first, if you’re gonna have one.
There’s the Karmali Station (S$24), which we love for their use of Goa’s Stranger & Sons gin with Svami Original Indian Tonic, then garnished with grapefruit and kaffir lime leaves. Or try the Balham Station (S$22) for something more expected. Here, Hayman’s Old Tom gin is mixed with London Essence Tonic then garnished with lemon and bay leaf, for a quintessentially British G&T.
Definitely move on to the cocktail menu proper. Drinks like the Chai Ramos Fizz (S$22) and Mango Collins (S$22) are your easy-drinking, almost self-explanatory options.
But concoctions like the Fenugreek Manhattan (S$25) and Curry Leaf Boulevardier (S$26) are what sets Firangi Superstar’s beverage programme apart. The former makes good use of cognac fat-washed with ghee as well as vermouth sous vide infused with fenugreek, while the latter sees the same techniques replicated using different base spirits and with coconut oil and curry leaves.
Cocktails derived using these methods result in concoctions retaining plenty of their original spirit-forward character, while still giving us the right amount of Indian flavours we’ve come to expect at Firangi Superstar.
That’s perhaps also the magic of this place. Beyond the wonderful portrayal and manifestation of India through an outsider’s enchanted lens, there’s also the supremely well balanced cuisines and cocktails to keep you enthralled and transported to a faraway land.
Firangi Superstar is located at 20 Craig Road, #01-03 Singapore 089692.
About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every detail at Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations and sharing them with folks that visit his home bar.