It feels like Melbourne’s Indian scene is getting a high-concept shake up. Out with the Butter Chicken, in with the crispy skinned salmon, confit tomatoes and mustard-infused coconut sauce. It’s probably long overdue. Don’t get us wrong—there’ll always be times that call for a plate-sized garlic naan—but it’s cool to see chefs pushing the curry envelope a little.
The latest to ride this new wave is Atta, Albert Park’s ambitious new Indian restaurant.
Everything about this place screams date night, from the white-washed bricks and dark-timber furniture to the leather wingbacks and huge vaulted beams that run across the ceiling. The sign out front says ‘modern Indian cuisine’, and there are more than a few contemporary flourishes. Technicolour pop-art on the walls, a well-stocked wine cellar on display, and plating that is basically food art. Just looking at it makes your Insta finger itch, cowboy-style…
For entrées, go the Seekh Kebab (lamb mince rolls with mint and beetroot chutney, garlic, and coriander butter), plus a serve of the Tandoori Aloo (stuffed potatoes, infused with spices, topped with pumpkin cumin puree and a sweet chilli chutney). Original and extremely moreish. Mains are harder—we could have come back and tried them all—but you won’t be disappointed by the Beef Kashmiri (tender beef with sautéed dry fruits and cashew gravy) or the Murgh Methi Malai (chicken with whole garam masala, plus onion and fenugreek gravy).
Matched wines aren’t hard to come by (the range is extensive, mostly from The Yarra Valley and McLaren Vale) but there’s BYO too if you’ve got a bottle in mind. Beer-wise, it’s got to be the King Fisher, a bottle tailor-made for curries. There’s also a good mix of cocktails, mocktails, spirits and (most important) lassi. Mango and salted.
Looking for a Valentine's date night this year? Atta is running a set course special that looks romantic AF. $85pp gets you a glass of Pizzini Prosecco on arrival, limited-edition dessert, and five delicious courses like Sikandari Raan (braised leg of lamb with sous vide Dutch carrots, cumin potatoes and mint chutney), Tandoori Paneer and Murgh Makhani with succulent tandoori chicken, spices and a tomato gravy. Nothing says 'I love you' like gravy. You can book your Valentine's Day dinner here.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White