I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – I love Indian food. I personally feel it is one of the most perfect cuisines in the world. But even for me, the gravies somehow taste the same in most dishes after a while. If you are like me, mustard is one Indian restaurant that is refreshingly different.

Of the mostly North Indian restaurants along race course road, mustard sets itself apart by specialising in food from bengal and punjab, two of India’s most sophisticated states in culinary. The key that ties the two together? Mustard, an ingredient that is widely used in both cuisines. This is why the restaurant is named after the yellow spice.

Having been accustomed to the bursting flavours of Indian cuisine, I find the food here to be delicious in a more subtle way. Some of the dishes are very unique and different from what other Indian restaurants offer.

Chingri Maacher Malai Curry (Prawns in Green Coconut)

Have you ever had prawns served in a coconut before?

Chingri Maacher Malai Curry (Prawns in Green Curry)

Spicy Chingri Maacher Malai Curry (Prawns in Green Curry)

Seafood figures prominently in bengali fares. The signature dish of the restaurant is chingri maacher malai, a bengali specialty of prawns simmered in curry with coconut milk. The curry is an unusual shade of light green, spiked with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.

There are mildly spicy and sweet undertones in the milky gravy. If you are familiar with the Thai sweet green curry, this is like a less spicy version. What’s unique about this is that you can enjoy the curry with a scoop of malai (coconut flesh) scraped from the insides of the shell. Yum!

Maacher Paturi (Mustard Fish in Banana Leaf)

Maacher Paturi (Mustard Fish in Banana Leaf)

Another bengali dish recommended by the restaurant is the maacher paturi, consisting of snapper fish wrapped in banana leaf. I was surprised by the generous serving of the fish: a large and thick slab of boneless fish marinated with mustard paste, mustard oil and various spices.

Despite the deep shade of yellow, the mustard taste is rather mild, with a slight tinge of bitterness. I don’t particularly like this one, although it’s one of the restaurant’s few signature dishes.

Punjabi Chicken Curry

Spicy Punjabi Chicken Curry

For something from the state of punjab, there’s the chicken curry. In stark contrast to the fish, the portion given was extremely stingy with just four small chunks of chicken (and bone). I also found the curry masala gravy to be more salty than anything else.

When the waiter came over to ask us about the food, I commented about the taste of the chicken gravy. On hearing this, he immediately brought it back to the kitchen and had it recooked. When he returned, the dish redeemed itself. The thick gravy was nicely spiced in a way that was delicious but not overpowering.

Masala Chai (Spiced Tea)

Masala Chai (Spiced Tea)

Of course, every trip to an Indian eatery should end with a cup of masala chai (spiced tea). It is served unsweetened, which makes me wonder how people can drink it just like that. Sugar in masala chai is a must for me. It makes the drink drinkable and at the same time, brings out the rich flavour of the spices.

Saunf (Fennel Seed)

At the end of the meal, we were given saunf (fennel seed) to chew as a mouth freshener. Having had the unpleasant experience of accidentally chewing on whole spice seeds in Indian gravy, I declined politely. I prefer spice to be all ground up as part of my food rather than a standalone. The box that it came in was very beautiful though, with ornate designs stamped on the metal body.

Mustard restaurant

One thing that I must highlight is that the restaurant is an unexpectedly perfect place for an intimate dinner date! The place is small and cosy, with candlelights on the tables and dim lighting from oil lamps hanging overhead. Nice, soothing music plays in the background, creating a calm and homely ambience.

You know how bad service can really spoil the entire dining experience? At mustard, the waiters are always attentive, though never intrusive, rendering dedicated service to the diners. Great service is something I always appreciate.

Housed in a row of shophouses along race course road with numerous other Indian restaurants, mustard faces stiff competition from bigwigs like muthu’s curry and other smaller players like itself. (Aside: did you know that race course road was named after Singapore’s first racecourse in 1842?)

But if I were you, I would really give it a go :)

Little India
32 Race Course Road
Singapore 218552
Tel: +65 6297 8422