It’s not as if we need an excuse to order chicken wings, but these beauties stole our hearts even before we sunk our teeth into them. To make them, the kitchen carefully removes the meat and bones from the wings, mixes the flesh with cashews and paneer (the Indian equivalent of cottage cheese) before stuffing them back into their skins.
The chubby wings are then deep-fried before given time in a tandoor for their stretched-out skins to blister to a friable crisp. The fragile panes of skin literally shattered to the bite as they gave way to succulent flesh with a lovely creaminess from the cashews and paneer. The wings were so delicious, we didn’t need the rather bland butter chicken dip that came with them.
Coming in a close second were the dhal duck hearts (S$7 for two skewers) — threaded through a skewer and cooked so they were still pink in the middle, served with a piquant tamarind cream and topped with a flurry of crunchy, lightly spiced dhal crumbs. There was so much flavour and texture in this seemingly simple dish.
Suffice it to say, we are fans of the Indian-inspired American barbecue dishes that chef Andrew Baldus has brought to this Little India outpost of Meatsmith (the flagship restaurant serves classic Southern American smokehouse favourites along Telok Ayer Street).
Just about everything on the compact menu called out to us — coconut chutney pork ribs (S$26), biryani stuffed suckling pig (S$48), lamb chops with chimichutney (S$21). So we did what any bewildered gorger would and ordered the Meat Platter. At S$58 per person, the option doesn’t sound particularly prudent. But our platter for two fed five of us amply, along with a selection of five appetisers.
Among our favourites on the tray were the smoky lamb chops, singed around the edges, tender within, and wonderful paired with the sharp chimichutney (think chimichurri and chutney) sauce. The bone-in short ribs were divine too — spoon-tender and simply flavoured, they were a nice contrast to spices that anointed the other meats.
The menu is short on desserts, but the smoked cashew butter chocolates (S$3) hit the bittersweet spot nicely with their snappy dark chocolate shell and earthy nut butter filling. If, however, your sweet tooth requires some post-meal attention, a mug of sugary Indian teh tarik is merely a coffeeshop away.
Meatsmith Little India, 21 Campbell Lane. facebook.com/meatsmith.littleindia