Sunday, August 7, 2016

[Media Invite] Apolo Bistro @ Little India Arcade

Am sure you must know The Banana Leaf Apolo Restaurant at Race Course Road, and for the older generations, am assuming that the there's a high chance that you have tried the fish head curry from Banana Leaf? For the young-ones, no worries. Banana Leaf Apolo has been around since 1974 (older than me!) and is no stranger to the Indian food scene in Singapore. But we may not be aware that there is an Apolo Bistro that was just opened in April 2016.

Little India Arcade is about 12 minutes walk from Little India Station. From Rochor Station, it seemed nearer and just about half the time. That is, if you had gone the right way. For some of us, we went one whole big round and ended up spending as much time to both directions. But that's how life is. Some would have taken the short and straight path while some might have taken one big detour but ended up in the same destination.

bistro signage
Apolo Bistro offers a modern and fuss-free comfortable dining space with ample choices for drinks (alcohol and non-alcoholic) and a wide variety of cuisine that was reinterpreted by their native chefs. Besides ala-carte, they do lunch buffet as well and for just $19.90 nett per pax. Buffet menu goes through major change once every month and the items on the menu changes on a daily basis.

current promo
lunch buffet menu for August 2016
Walk up the stairs as the bistro is at Level 2 and turn left. There is a big basin in front of its entrance. Inside, there is one main hall for dining, an alfresco area allowing diners a view of the streets and a quieter area to enjoy pre and post dinner drinks.

indoor seats
alfresco seats overlooking the street

pre and post dinner drinks area

A quick peruse of its menu revealed a pretty ecletic ensemble. To start, would you like to have some Chicken Long Fung Soup or Avocado Crab Soup? Some examples for main course include Red Thai Curry with Pineapple rice, Tandoori Platter and Honey Lemon Chicken with egg. They've got noodles too. Like Teochew Seafood Mee Goreng. Now, tell me that aint fusion. Expectantly, the House favourites are still the Fish Head Curry, Masala Chicken and Mysore Mutton.

menu in a tablet
Chicken Long Fung Soup has gotten me pretty curious. Googled and here is what it says about Long Fung Soup (龍鳳湯):
Lung fung soup (龍鳳湯; pinyin: lóng fèng tāng), or Dragon phoenix soup, is a thick seafood or gou rou soup made with lemon, chili peppers, chicken, snake, and Chinese vegetables.
Wait...rewind. Double-take and rub eyes. Yes, it said 'snake'. The 龍 (dragon) refers to the snake while 鳳 refers to the chicken. Not sure whether the version here uses two of the ingredients or just one. Should have ordered the soup! Hahaha. So excited to see such curious stuffs on the menu.

 Let's see what we tried from Apolo Bistro. We got four items (out of 6) from the starters menu; Turkey Bacon wrapped Prawns, Smoked Duck on Garlic Toast, Deep-fried Devil's Eggs and Buffalo Wings.

Deep Fried Devil's Eggs @ $8++

Turkey Bacon wrapped Prawns @$14.90++
The Devil's eggs (devilled eggs) refers to stuffed eggs where it is basically hard boiled egg with its yolk taken out, seasoned and mixed with mayo, mustard etc. The version here uses a smaller sized eggs, so it was an easy to eat in one bite. Mild tasting and bouncy texture.

Enjoyed the spice marinade in the prawns and Chef revealed that the prawns were marinated with spices first before wrapping it up with turkey bacon and deep fried till turkey bacon turned crisp.

Smoked Duck on Garlic Toast @$12++
Bite into crunchy airy toast but unfortunately, it didn't have much garlic taste. The Smoked Duck on Garlic Toast looked pretty.

Buffalo Wings 1/2 dozen @$15.90++
For about the same price as the prawn starters, one could get the buffalo wings. Meaty and marinated in secret spices, this was a new interpretation of buffalo wings marinade. Good with a beer. Happy Hour till 6pm where house draft (Heineken and Tiger) are on 1-for-1.

For mains, there are Red Thai Curry with Pineapple Rice and Green Curry with Basil Rice. Must say that this dish was rather photegenic. The white rice was served in a pineapple so extra points for presentation effort. Liked the achar served.

Red Thai Curry with Pineapple Rice @$16.90++

The Green Curry on the other hand...was rather concerned with the shade of green in its curry. It was also unfortunately heavily salted. Has an intense coconut milk lemakness to it. The rice tasted of just normal basmati rice.

Apolo's resident Chef has worked in Bangkok prior and hence, the Thai-influenced items in the menu.

Green Curry with Basil Rice@$15.90++

Next, we ordered items that Apolo excels at. Fish Head curry, Palak Paneer, Rogan Josh, Yellow Daal and naans.


The Fish Head Curry (small) was actually large enough to feed an army. Ok, kidding. It feeds 4-5 pax. The curry was tangy and whets the appetite. Spice level was probably just 2 out of 5. Fish head was good and fresh. Yums!

Fish Head Curry (S) @$22++

Next, the tandoori chicken. The full portion has about 8 pieces of chicken to it. Found the flavours a tad too mild though.

Tandoori Chicken @$20++
If you like chewy naans, then the version here would suit your taste. Quite QQ in my opinion. Ate my naans with the trio of Rogan Josh (not spicy), yellow daal (@$8++) and palak paneer (@$10++). The Rogan Josh was surprisingly not spicy.

garlic naan @$3.50++ per piece (plain naan @$3 per piece) (pictured 2 pieces portion)
Rogan Josh (@$15++)
Oh, how about desserts? Yes, we did try some. Traditional Indian sweets as well as the usual bistro fare. The chocolate fondant tasted of the usual. Rasmalai was a tad too interesting for me. Wiki'ed it up and discovered that the yellow curd/cheese looking like flat balls is believed to have originated from West Bengal. The head Chef at Apolo Bistro is from Bangalore. Perhaps, a homage to his hometown?

Chocolate Fondant @$8++
Rasmalai @$6++
In Hindi, ras means juice and malai means cream. Indeed this flattened yellow balls are juicy and has cottage-like kinda spongy creamy. But, it is an acquired taste. Sorry, but this one is not for me.

Now, kulfi is quite lovely. Nicely cold and sweet but not overly sweet. However, the mango taste eluded me in this mango kulfi.

Mango Kulfi @$6++

Apolo Bistro offers not just Indian food but there is something for everyone. You'd like a Yamazaki whisky or some wine with the fragrantly spiced food? Not a problem, the option is available.

Thank you Apolo Bistro for hosting the dinner and HGW for the invite. Glad to know that there is such a cosy place where one could enjoy a wide variety of options in food and drinks menu.


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