I blogged about this place when I first came here 2 years ago.
I went away quite pleased.
So when a couple of friends suggested we dine at Thevar tonight, I happily said yes.
And so it begins
We arrived just before our booking time and settled in at our table.
The restaurant was full. An eclectic patronage. A happy mix of mad Chinaman and svelte attractive Indian ladies. There was a happy buzz.
I came to learn that they are now quite busy on weekdays but if you are looking to secure a weekend table, it will take months.
Only an imbecile will eat on an empty stomach
We started with cocktails and wine. As a true mama will tell you, one never eats on an empty stomach.
Thevar has an innovative cocktail list thanks to their talented mixologist.
I was intrigued by most of the cocktails on their list but settled for the Madras Mule.
This was no ordinary beast of burden.
The wave of kaffir lime acidity worked beautifully with vodka augmented by nice citrus overtones. Utterly delicious.
The Chef’s Menu
We had the Chef’s Menu for the night.
At the end of the dinner, I was not just stuffed silly but felt drained by an avalanche of an undulating yet relentless invasion of my senses and sensations.
Nuances and flavours. A magical journey.
This is what I would remember Thevar by until we meet again.
This was just too pretty to eat.
I’m not a big fan of beetroot but I chomped through this happily.
The burst of tasty beetroot with its erstwhile condiments inside whetted our appetite considerably.
The magic has begun.
This was the chef’s playful rendition of the Indian Samosa.
A small tasty cone was filled with sautéed mushrooms, aioli and finished off with shavings of aged paneer cheese, made to look like a mini sundae.
One of our dining companions suggested that mushrooms are not a staple of the Indians.
I was inclined to take her word for it as she is married to an Indian and would know these things (although I feel quite often I was more Indian than him, after having been happily anointed and reborn as “Rajalingam” during uni days after a robust ragging by my Indian friends.)
But whichever Indian who had nonchalantly cooked my sautéed non staple mushrooms stuffed into that cone is pure genius. The spices were en point and the burst of flavours in that small cone was extraordinary.
It was one of my favourite dishes of the evening.
Crispy pork with sambal aioli
Pork at an Indian restaurant?
Maybe this was Thevar’s homage to the mad Chinaman.
This is a signature dish at Thevar.
Crispy yet tender pork encrusted with spiced herbs is sandwiched in a peppery betel leaf, topped with pickled jalapeño and a coconut sambal Aioli.
I liked this a lot during my first visit but other dishes tonite has knocked this dish off its lofty pedestal.
I must confess I don’t remember much of this dish. I think by this time dementia and food coma has started to set in.
Oyster with rasam granita
I didn’t like this dish during my first visit because I thought the rasam granita didn’t go.
I am happy to say I feel exactly the same way tonight.
Maybe I’m just steadfastly prejudiced.
When I think oysters I want briny, I want Arcachon, and I don’t want it to be defiled by anything other than Mr Lemon, and his sidekick Mr Tobasco.
I remember being a little indifferent to this dish as the crust didn’t inspire any stirrings. It wasn’t crispy (or maybe it wasn’t meant to be) and I thought it was nondescript.
Until I reached the centre and had a morsel of the prawns. Bloody delicious. Briny and well spiced, Mr Prawn saved the day.
Chettinad Chicken Roti
Another signature dish at Thevar, delicious roti was stuffed with shredded and tender chicken cooked in intense spices.
A crowd winner. All of us gushed over this dish.
The Rasam Interlude
We were served Rasam as the Indians believe that this sour, peppery soup helps in digesting the food.
I don’t mind Rasam but have to pretend to really like it to get street cred. As everyone knows, if you don’t like Rasam, then you’re just a pseudo mama who wouldn’t know a Puri from a Bhatura, even if both hit you in the face while you are speaking Hindi with a Brit accent.
But the Rasam served at Thevar is unreal.
At my first sip, I forgot I was a mad chinaman. I was transported to Tamil Naidu and was bare bodied in a Sarong and hordes of Indian villagers were chanting and body shaming me for my uncle bod.
It was nicely sourish from the tamarind, had a nice peppery kick with kaffir overtones, and was yet so delicate and incredibly balanced.
Truly one of the best rasams I have had in my lifetime.
We spoke to the Sous Chef who cooks the rasam in the restaurant and he proudly told us it was his Amma’s recipe.
Kudos and salutations to Amma. Please adopt me and cook Rasam when the prodigal son comes to visit.
Monk Fish with Madras Crab Curry Rice
For me, this was the piece de resistance for the evening.
The monk fish was exquisite but that crab curry rice stopped all conversations at our table.
Fluffy grains with an intense crab overtone with some crispy fried bits (coconut bits?) made this dish utterly delectable.
My favourite dish of the evening.
After that crab blockbuster, I was already fatigued and couldn’t believe there was another main course.
A delicate aroma enveloped a tasty roti and you ate those with the minced lamb patty sitting atop a beautiful mini garden adorned with pretty flowers in a moat of a delicious green sauce.
Dessert – Papaya Sorbert and Rasmalai
The papaya sorbet was refreshing and blended beautifully with the smorgasbord of passion fruit and other citrus offerings.
The Rasmalai was a saffron accented custard mousse sitting over pound cake and had subtle tones of rose water and cardamoms.
It was a beautiful sweet finish to a remarkable culinary journey.
Address 9 Keong Saik Road