Tiffin Room at Raffles Singapore returns refreshed with new touches that give it an even greater sense of place.
First opened in 1892 in Raffles Place before it was moved to Raffles Singapore in 1910, Tiffin Room’s history goes almost as far back as the Raffles Hotel itself, built in 1887. Just as the tiffin lunch carrier it’s named after is ubiquitous in Indian life, the restaurant has become synonymous over the years with Northern Indian buffets and afternoon high tea. Re-opening together with the newly restored Raffles Singapore, Tiffin Room returns refreshed with a few new tweaks.
After its revamp, new features such as gilded shelves adorned with tiffin carriers give the space a warmer, homelier touch. The kitchen is still helmed by chef Kuldeep Negi, a native of Delhi but gone are the buffet-only offerings or afternoon high tea, which moves to the Grand Lobby. In its place, he has designed a lunch buffet ($62) and a dinner la carte menu “inspired by the royal culinary heritage of the Maharajas”. In a novelty befitting its namesake, there is also a tiffin box set option, available at lunch and dinner, for a customised communal set meal. Another significant change is the beefing up of the wine list to include made-in-India wines. There are, for instance, selections from Fratelli in the Maharashtra region, such as the M/S by Fratelli 2018 Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc blend, and the M/S by Fratelli 2016 Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Syrah blend.
Dinner here starts with a generous serving of two types of papadum—roasted with a smoky, nutty flavour and non-roasted—that whet the appetite. Moving on to the appetisers, a good pick would be the tiger prawns kebab with cardamom, Indian spices and mango salsa ($50). Featuring large, luscious prawns sourced from Vietnam, these are lightly grilled and crunchy to the bite. Another one to try is the vegetarian green peas with crushed peanuts and poha salad ($15), which come in crumbly green mounds, reminiscent of bergedil, the potato patty commonly featured in Malay cuisine. Here, the green pea patties are flanked by flakes of poha or flattened rice, a grain that’s as well-loved for its chewy texture as for its nutritious properties.
Other Tiffin Room signature must-tries are the chicken biryani ($30), where the chicken slices are plump and juicy and irresistible with the rice and gravy; as well as the soft and crumbly Indian cottage cheese with fenugreek leaves in a puffed lotus seed gravy. For the mains, don’t miss the fork tender lamb shank with Kashmiri Indian spices and dried chilli paste ($45), or for something a little different, the scallops coconut curry ($45), featuring the lesser-used scallop ingredient and the more Southern Indian style of a mild coconut, lemongrass and tamarind curry.
Alternatively, there’s always the option of going with the Mera Dabba or Create Your Own Tiffin Box set ($58), where you choose two special dishes such as tandoori chicken or prawn balchao (prawns with mustard seeds, cinnamon, onions and apple vinegar), which will be served with organic black lentils curry with tomato puree; Indian basmati rice flavoured with saffron and cumin; assorted tandoori breads; and a selection of chutneys and pickles.
For dessert, familiar favourites such as rice powder brulee with fresh berries, which is not too sweet, and the delicate chocolate gulab jamun, or sweet milk dumplings with chocolate and saffron, make a satisfying end to the meal.
Grand Lobby, Raffles Singapore. 1 Beach Road. Tel: 6337 1886
Other new or refreshed F&B venues at Raffles Singapore: