Saturday, November 03, 2007
Karma Kettle & Rhapsody
Most of us have a mental image of what we'd like our humble abode to look and feel like when we get a place of our own. Some prefer a more chic look while others prefer warm and homely.
Am sure you know which is my preference. :) Especially since I talk about it so much!
So for those of you who know what type of home I dream of having in the future, you'd totally understand why I'm absolutely crazy about this fantastic lil' cafe at Cluny Court.
Called Karma Ketttle & Rhapsody, this place sells English (think colonial etc) food with an Indian twist. But not all of their dishes are fusion ones. They do serve totally English food like the Anglo-Saxon Sausage set or the Lamb's Shepherd Pie.
Before I go into the food proper, let me tell you more about the place.
Not only is Karma Kettle & Rhapsody so amazingly cosy and quaint, it also exudes that feel-good aura. Okay I can see you lifting your brows and wondering what is this damn 'aura' thing I'm talking about. You know sometimes there are just vibes you get when you go to certain places. Sometimes you might feel so at ease and relaxed and at times, you feel out of place, and uncomfortable.
Perhaps it's the aroma, the scent or the pleasant and attentive service staff that does the trick. Whatever it is, I believe that the people at Karma Kettle & Rhapsody are doing it right. I'm not saying this because they invited me to try their food but rather, because I think I know a good thing when I see, or taste it. Besides, I've been past the place many times and it's always crowded especially during lunch and dinner time so I guess there are others who would agree with me :)
Owned by Dhiraj Arora and his wife Preeti, both Indian nationals, Karma Kettle & Rhapsody is their precious baby which took more than 3 years to conceive. If you ever see them while you're at their restaurant, go up and talk to them - they're really friendly and passionate about what they're doing. This pair of newly weds are so sweet and amiable. I learnt alot about teas and spices in just two hours. Dhiraj is really into tea and he's bringing in some top grade tea leaves from India. Tea aficionados would probably understand when I mention words like 'first flush' et al.
Karma Kettle & Rhapsody has only been opened for about a month and they are now planning for their second outlet at Dempsey Road. You know, I really want my home to look like their cafe. I felt as though I could sit there for hours, enjoying the soothing strains of classical music as I sip on their fantastic masala chai.
Okay, I'm starting to get dreamy... right, before I drift off completely, let's go into the food!
My utmost favourite dish is actually their Across the English Channel. Served with an elegantly fragrant cumin rice, this gem-of-a-dish contains a whopping seven varieties of mushrooms: Button, Shiitake, Enoki, Portobello, Houshimiji, Oyster, White houshimiji. It's cooked with a parsley fricassee sauce that's just so creamy and delicious. Each mouthful I took was savoured and treasured. Believe me when I say that I have never eaten a mushroom dish that tasted THIS good. I don't think I'm exaggerating! Ask Ashley (my talented photographer friend who came along to help eat and take the beautiful photos!) and she'll nod her head furiously. It's almost orgasmic, really. Rich and flavourful says it all. You'll be grinning widely after trying this!
Across the English Channel
I tried their rainbow rice which is usually served with pork vindaloo. What's so cool is that they don't use colouring at all. So how do they make it red and yellow? By using natural ingredients like tumeric, tomatoes and spices. The grains are tiny, which makes for a different and lighter mouthfeel. I suppose it's good because it allows the mains like stews or curries to take centre stage.
Rainbow rice (usually served with Pork Vindaloo)
If you want something light, try their Prawn and Melon Salad. The tiger prawns and sweet rock melon blend really well especially with their special dill sauce.
Prawn and melon salad
Or if you like to try something a bit different, you should go for their Karma Kettle Roast Tea Salad. It's a mix of potatoes, okra, tomatoes, onions all tossed with this zesty lemon vinaigrette and garnished with roasted green and assam tea. It's splendid and so refreshing!
Karma Kettle Roast Tea Salad
I'm sure you've noticed how subtly they fuse tea and spices into their dishes. That's one highlight of the place and also another major reason why I like it so much. Some fusion places try so hard to mix and match everything that it ends up tasting blah. Fusion food is very much an art, an art what requires precise pairing of compatible ingredients and also of knowing where to stop.
Being very much a lavender fan, I naturally liked their English Lavender chicken. This herb reduced chicken breast is pan fried and served with their aromatic lavender sauce on top of some herb rice with asparagus. I'm truly amazed at how they managed to make the lavender come through. Loved the fact that they actually sprinkled lavender bits on top of the chicken before serving.
English Lavender Chicken
You've gotta end each meal on a sweet note, no?
What got me most excited was the Eton Mess. I've only read about it on websites and in cookbooks but I'm glad I finally got to try it. It's actually a classic dessert made up of strawberries, pieces of meringue, vanilla sponge, bitter marmalade, cream, which is traditionally served at Eton College's annual prize-giving.
Oh how English can that be?! Me likes. hahaha
Then there's something that's more light - their Steamed banana pudding served with coffee cream. Ashley wasn't crazy about it (she likened it to the Chinese steam cake) but I on the other hand, lapped it up well and good. Yes I finished it :p
The pudding wasn't sweet and what I like about it is the fact that they paired it with coffee cream. It's a good marriage, banana and coffee... I recommend this for those who are not big on sickly sweet stuff.
Steamed banana pudding served with coffee cream
To wash down all your dessert, try their masala chai latte. It's really good! Loved that they made it there and then... Trust me, the entire cafe was filled with this lovely spiced scent that fills your nose, in a good way.
Oh, and I tried their White Mist too... It's actually white tea. I think it's my first time drinking white tea and I must say, I do like it. It has a clean and light taste that bears no resemblance to the normal black tea. Great to drink with pastries I say.
Are you a tiramisu fan like I am? If you are, you have to try their tiramisu tea!
I kid you not. I'm not joking. It's not a pun and not a prank.
It really tastes like the said dessert. I was equally surprised! The ultimate would be drinking this while actually eating tiramisu. haha. that'll be awesome.
And to give you a better idea of the ambience and decor (of which lies the reason why I don't mind living there!):
They got someone to come and do some gorgeous illustrations that upped the cosy factor of the cafe. The owners really pay great attention to detail! See for yourself... oh and look at the cute tea quotes on the walls!
Oh and I love their kitchen counter + the stained-glass windows and the cool french style kitchen door. Look closely and you realise that the three lamps above the counter are made from real kettles used in India which the owner modified and had them made into lamps.
I sat at the blue tiled table, which was so old school and antique and I couldn't stop admiring it.
Check out the cute tea pot turned plant holder!
Gosh I really am in love with Karma Kettle & Rhapsody. I've been telling all my friends about it. I have to go back there soon....
And if you think they just serve food in a cafe, oh you're in for a huge surprise.
The owners have a retail store just a few doors down and it is stocked with authentic French imports. Think dijon mustard, raspberry vinegar, lavender liquer and you know what I mean. Soaps are also sold there - they smell amazing by the way. I like the green tea one! Oh and of course, there's the usual mainstay: chocolate soap.
Now you can look at the photos and see for yourself:
How cool is that? This is by far the first time I've come across such a store and cafe and I'm really impressed. You can say that I've fallen head over heels in love with Karma Kettle & Rhapsody. Trust me, looking at these pictures is one thing; going there to experience it for yourself is another. If you're a huge fan of the quaint, cosy and English, then you'll probably love it as much as I do :)
P.S. These photos were taken by my friend Ashley. She does freelance photography as a sideline and if you're interested in her services, email her at email@example.com
*Disclaimer: The food photos are not reflective of the real portion size served. These are sample dishes and therefore are smaller in quantity.
Karma Kettle & Rhapsody
#01-01A & #01-05B Cluny Court
501 Bukit Timah Road.
Open Monday to Fridays 11am to 10pm, Saturday and Sundays 10am to 9pm