“Indu makes Indian food sexy”
The opening of Indu (click here) has transcended Sydney’s subcontinental taste buds to a new culinary level. Located at Angel Place just underneath the Ivy and just before China Lane, a dimly lit fire escape that doubles as Indu’s entrance a is placed. As you walk down each step of the narrow industrial staircase the air becomes heavier with the familiar scent of rich aromatic spices. From the moment you walk in there is a sensory explosion. The entrance is lined with large terracotta pots filled with India’s staple spices, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Clove & Chilli fills the air, while Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and the Beatles softly plays in the background.
Heading to our table, we passed the ‘Dosa Kitchen’ a front of house separate grill where you can watch the chef whip up some traditional delights and a heavily stocked bar. Lavish semi circle embroidered banquettes and wooden tables are intertwined while the private dining, and romantic nooks are tucked away to the side while at the back end of restaurant the hustle and bustle of an open kitchen energises the room.
There is almost too much to take in at first but once we got seated and settled with our first drink underway, we began to really appreciate the superbly appointed décor. The P/D and romantic nooks are carved out of the heritage listed building while being softly lit with candles on the table and copper fixtures that make for a very luxe setting. An eclectic mix of; mud brick walls, textile designs, ceramic patterns, rich hues of green and gold that look ‘spray painted’ and an exposed 120 year old deep composite terracotta ceiling have been handcrafted and preserved that make up the rest of this restaurant giving a type of ‘village’ feel that the team of Matt Woods, Project Z and Ash Keating have so wonderfully created.
At the beginning of the meal, and inline with Mejico’s process of guacamole (which is another one of Sam’s restaurants), the coconut sambol is made right in front of us. This spicy mix of coconut, lemon juice, red chilli, roasted cashew nuts and many other delectable ingredients is served with a soft warm Indian milk bun and can be eaten on its own or used as a topping for any of the other meals we ordered.
The menu crafted by head chef Bimal Kumar, is a reflection Dr. Sam Prince heritage and of the time he spent doing aid work across Sri Lanka and India. Kumar shows a sense of creativity and flare that Sydney has been crying for. Using traditional techniques with a modern twist and an emphasis on light, wholesome and fresh ingredients that is common amongst the villages of south costal India.
I assure you, no butter chicken heavily thickened with coconut cream and greasy naan will be on the menu.
What we ate:
COCONUT SAMBOL – red chilli, red onion, devilled cashew nuts. Served with an Indian milk bun (V, HM)
SMOKED GOAT’S LEG – w/ zucchini ribbon raita, pomegranate, chilli & bacon jam 18
SEARED SCALLOPS – tempered curd, smoked coconut (G)
GOAN PORK BELLY CURRY – coconut milk, poppy seeds, cashews, cardamom, cinnamon bark (G)
“THE GREAT” LAMB RAAN – marinated & tenderly slow roasted over 48 hours w/ fresh mint chutney & lunumiris
LEMON RICE – crispy lentils, smashed peanuts, green chilli, fresh coconut (D, G, V+)
AMMA’S DAAL – red lentils, mustard seeds, fresh ground coconut (D, G, V)
HOUSE-MADE PARATHA – A North Indian unleavened bread (V)
WHITE CHOCOLATE – coconut cream, caramelised pomegranate & fig (G)
KERALA KOLADA – Spiced rum, coconut & chai syrup, pineapple, coconut sorbet
THE CHENNEL CHILLER – Gin, mixed berries, basil, curry leaves, lemon juice, agave
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE – Whiskey, pomegranate chutney, lemon juice, egg white
THE GINGER KING – Gin, fresh lemon, INDU gingery syrup, Kingfisher lager
My top pick was most certainly the Goat’s leg dosa. A south Indian lentil dosa (think savoury pancake/crepe) it was cooked to perfection and was accompanied by a zucchini raita, pomegranate and chilli bacon jam (which we were told wasn’t actually bacon, it was coconut that was smoked).
Other favourites were the pork belly curry, which was very light and had a delightful undernote of nutty creaminess and a good punch of heat. It had a generous amount of tender pork throughout and also had snippets of crispy flakes of crackling which added extra layers of crunch to the dish.
Secondly the Signature lamb (which you can get either in a half or full serve) is wonderfully succulent and had been slow roasted for 48 hours in rich spices and yoghurt. The mint chutney served on the board complimented the complexity of the lamb and topped with lunu miris, sweet chilli and salt to balance the meatiness of the dish.
(The dahl was also light and creamy for you vegans!)
To finish the night off, we made the tricky decision to get only one dessert (we were so full by this time!) With the help of the waiter we decided to go for the white chocolate and coconut cream. This was smooth, velvety and surprisingly light that was perfectly matched with caramelized fig and the right amount of pomegranate.
The drinks menu is full of classic cocktails with exciting twists, my favourite of the night being the Kerala Kolada ( a delicious playful twist on the ever popular Pina Colada). It was quite refreshing from the heat of some of the dishes.
The only downfall was that the staff were a little slow at the very beginning but after our first drink order was placed the new waiter was extremely tentative and enthusiastic. After our first order was taken, the meal was out to the table in a shockingly speedy time, which made up for the lag in the beginning.
Also that our favourite dish (Smoked Goat) was that good we would have preferred to have seen it as a main rather than a smaller serve.
As this is one of Sydney’s newest culinary hotspots I would suggest on getting indu* it quickly as you might find in the upcoming months it will be harder to get a table.
*sorry for the pun 🙂
350 George St,
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9223 0158