A Royal Vegan Indian Feast at Shahi Maharani: Dining Review
Shahi Maharani translates to Royal Queen, no wonder then that from the food to the décor, everything about this restaurant screams regal splendour. Recognised as a prominent Indian restaurant in Singapore, Shahi Maharani has been churning out distinctive Indian cuisine for 20 years. Teak tables, gold-plated chairs and Indian artefacts add to the regal experience.
The restaurant’s forte lies in its heavy-handed use of aromatic Indian spices, some of them homemade. Shahi Maharani is not about contemporary flavours or molecular gastronomy, what you can expect here is fantastic North-Indian food that is authentic and made with traditional recipes handed down from the time before food became fast.
The menu is extensive, with ample choice for vegetarians. When I enquired about vegan dishes, we were told that the entire meal could be done vegan and it was. So pardon me for going a bit over-board with 9 vegan dishes, not counting the accompaniments or Naans.
I love Indian Street Food, so Papdi Chaat (S$16, a crispy flour biscuit topped with a mix of potatoes, tomatoes and onion and then smothered in tamarind and mint chutneys) was the perfect start for me. The chaat has a generous drizzle of yogurt, which can be easily omitted without taking anything away from the dish. In fact, my non-vegan friend agreed with me that the yogurt-free version is tastier.
Another crowd pleaser is Bhindi Pakoda (S$16), okra fried in a chickpea flour batter – nice and crispy and quite delicious. A wonderful way to get a green vegetable into your kids, chances are they’re going to gobble these up before you can say okra!
Got kebabs on your mind? Try the Makki Ke Kebab (S$26) aka corn kebabs, which are velvety, juicy and melt-in-the-mouth delicious, albeit quite fiery. Or go for the new kid on the block, the Impossible Shammi Kebab. While we’ve seen one too many Impossible Burgers in recent months, Shahi Maharani has concocted something unique that should appeal to vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike. The plant-based meat is well mixed with spices and cooked to be crisp on the outside, and soft, flavour-packed on the inside. The most desirable trait is that the usual beefy texture of Impossible is masked. These were very well received by us, highly recommended!
THE dish of the evening was the Subzi Sizzler (S$34), a sizzling vegetarian treat you will go back for. The creamy textured vegetable kebabs are generously topped with a deliciously thick & chunky gravy made with an onion-tomato-cashew paste blended with homemade spices. We devoured every last bit with Naan/Roti.
And did we go all out for mains! Shahi Maharani’s Tarka Dal (S$22) is a bit too spicy for me. So if you’re not into tongue-on-fire Indian food, ask for it to be toned down a notch or two. The Aloo Gobi, which is potatoes and cauliflower cooked together with spices, is good but again, quite spicy. I loved that the cauliflower is not overcooked and retains its crunch.
So you are glancing down the menu and looking for something you cannot find? Fret not, with Aap Ki Pasand (S$25-$28) which literally translates to ‘your choice’, the chef can create a dish of your choice. Here’s where your personal preferences come into play – ask to replace the Mutter Paneer with a Mushroom Mutter (Peas), or ask the chef to whip up an unconventional Palak Aubergine. I considered going for Palak Potato or Palak Cauliflower but finally went with plain ol’ Saag – chopped spinach tempered with onions, tomatoes and spices. We loved it.
Of course, you’re going to need a hearty bowl of Vegetable Pulao and some breads to dip into those mains. The Naans at Shahi Maharani contain egg, so opt for the healthier and vegan Tandoori Roti or Phudina Parantha – whole wheat flat bread topped with ground fresh mint.
Dessert was the only dish of the meal that was not (or couldn’t be done) vegan. My friend opted for the Kulfi Sampler Platter (S$17) that comes in 3 flavours – Malai (aka cream), Mango and Pistachio. The mango flavour aced the game.
After the meal, we were served an Immunity Booster Shot, a homemade concoction of ginger and turmeric brewed with cinnamon, topped with honey and lemon. This was an extremely pleasing brew that we did not know we needed but was God-sent after the sheer gluttony of the meal!
Shahi Maharani: Verdict & V Partnership
Top notch food! We’re all well aware that vegans don’t have the easiest of times at Indian restaurants, so I was pleasantly taken aback when we were told that there were enough dishes that were vegan or could easily be customised. The temptation to dig in won and we enjoyed a meal that was nothing short of a feast.
Shahi Maharani is now a V Partner, which means that V members can now enjoy a 20% discount on Shahi Maharani’s a-la-carte menu.
Weekday & Weekend Buffets at Shahi Maharani
Shahi Maharani offers a Weekday Lunch Buffet with a 1-for-1 option at S$56 (or $35 for single diner). There are several dishes on offer here and vegetarians are additionally served a dish or two so they don’t feel short changed. Since this is a buffet, it isn’t recommended for vegans as the food is cooked in larger batches and hence, they can’t customise it.
The Sunday Chaat & Tandoori Buffet Lunch (S$36 per adult, $25 per child) features a Chaat Station, a Vegetarian Tawa Station, Kebabs from the Tandoor, 5 Mains with Indian Breads, and Dessert.
Shahi Maharani: 252 North Bridge Road #03–21B Raffles City Shopping Centre Singapore 179103. P: +65 62358840 | Website
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of EatRoamLive, Pooja’s enthusiasm for food and travelling is palpable from the variety and intensity with which she writes. A traveller at heart and a big-time foodie who is vegan, EatRoamLive was incepted with her desire to create a resource aimed at making dining out fun, and not restrictive, for veg(etari)ans. Not just (solely) veg(etari)an restaurants, she marks out places that serve sumptuous food with enough meat-free options. A hands-on mum to 3 young kids, the former architect and interior designer has her hands full juggling her love for writing, travelling and home.