We’re the last ones to judge a late-night garlic naan (sometimes nothing else will hit the spot), but it’s nice to find a contemporary Indian restaurant that’s aiming a little higher. Introducing Piquancy, Hawthorn’s newest all-day spice shrine from the creators of Babu Ji. Just like Babu Ji, Piquancy is a sophisticated take on traditional Indian fare. Think less post-beer Rogan Josh and more date-night beetroot-cured paneer, or grilled tiger prawns with a saffron reduction and a nice bottle of Riesling.
The first impression is a good one: scents of cloves and mustard seeds hit your nostrils as soon as you walk in the door. A definite palate-prepper. The décor is upmarket, but fun. There’s a loop of Indian music videos playing on a projector (mental note: watch more Indian music videos), Indian-themed pop-art on the walls, and the help-yourself beer fridge (complete with bottle opener) is surprisingly well-stocked.
There are curries and rice for the traditionalists, and we can confirm the butter chicken was bloody good. But really, Piquancy is all about adding a touch of finesse. There’s the option of quinoa biryani and cauliflower rice (a good gluten-free option), and the menu features a few standouts like Achari pork chops, curried lamb shank and crispy Panipuri. Save room for dessert though, because Piquancy does a mean Kulfi ice-cream: sweet condensed milk cut with cardamom and cinnamon, served frozen at the table. You will want more than one. And we will not judge you.