I am instinctively suspicious of anything that sets out to be too trendy, and certainly of anything that tries to boost itself with corporate hogwash. And the little cluster of restaurants known as Colours by the Bay ought to be just the sort of try-hard proposition that immediately rouses my irritation.
Colours By The Bay introduces a novel concept in dining experience. It brings together different restaurants under one roof to offer diners a choice of specialised cuisines ranging from Indian, Korean and Thai […] Each of the outlets is differentiated by Colours and design rather than separated by walls. A common design theme runs through each of the restaurants to tie them all back to Colours By The Bay. The place has a vibrant, trendy and hip feel […] The interior is designed by well-known design consultant David Broadley Associates. […] The name Colours By The Bay reflects its relation to Esplanade. It also alludes to the different cultures and races that have given rise to the different varieties of cuisines around the world.
Finding a range of different cuisines under one roof is not novel: it’s called a 'shopping mall' or even: a 'food court'. Last time I checked, they had a few of those in Singapore. Restaurants not separated by walls? The one I went to looked fairly solidly built to me. Furthermore, I’ve never heard of David Broadley, and I can’t find his company’s website. The penultimate quoted sentence doesn’t mean anything, and the idea that a multi-coloured logo has something to do with different races and cuisines is horribly insincere, multi-culti nonsense.
On with the food. As an ‘appetizer’, I started with the solkadi – advertised as tasting of coconut milk and mangosteen, it is actually more like gazpacho soup masquerading as a glass of strawberry-flavoured Nesquik. It’s a drink, with very strong flavours of chilli and garlic, and while I enjoyed it, my companion found it repellent: an acquired taste, certainly, and surprisingly rich (and by the way, a hundred times better in Gajalee than the equivalent I sampled once in the Punjab Grill, which tasted like sipping out of a used toilet during a norovirus epidemic – quite frightful and undrinkable, of course).
The lentil curry was as good as any I have had – it was the usual quite soupy and satisfyingly smoky-flavoured mix that I find so hard to produce myself at home. The butter chicken was lean, creamy and satisfyingly filling – and contained none of the low-quality, gristly bits of bird that Indian restaurants so often seem to slip into chicken curries in this part of the world.
I said the prices were acceptable, but you need to know that we didn’t get away for less than a hundred bucks. Expensive, some would say, but given the quality of the food and the experience, I think that is value for money.
‘Gajalee’ apparently means ‘an informal gathering’ in the Konkani language. Elsewhere on the net, I found something that said that the same word meant ‘abuse’ or ‘profanity’ in Hindi. Well, I swear Gajalee is worth a visit – and I haven’t got a bad word to say about it.
If you agree or disagree with what I said, why not leave a comment? It would be great to hear from you!
http://www.gajalee.com/rest_singapore.html - Gajalee’s website. Disappointingly, the pdf menu they have uploaded is out of date – several dishes missing and listing the wrong address.
http://www.colours.com.sg/profile.htm - choice corporate nonsense.
http://dict.hinkhoj.com/words/meaning-of-GAJALEE-in-hindi.html - Gajalee in Hindi.
http://www.marina-bay.sg/Funfinder/activity/view/colours-by-the-bay - I took the photo of Colours by the Bay from the Marina Bay website.