I’m not the biggest fan of Indian food in general. Don’t get me wrong, I love a 3am chicken tikka roll as much as the next person, but will happily skip the oil-laden curries and stodgy sides you get at most Indian restaurants in Sydney.
Happily, new Sydney CBD restaurant INDU has taken the idea of Indian as we know it, and thrown it out the window. Remember when Mexican food stopped being crap and a new world of modern Mexican was born in Sydney? That’s what’s happening at INDU. And since they’re the brains behind the awesome Mejico, you know they know their stuff.
When I popped into INDU on a stinking hot Sydney day a few days after it opened, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. Not sure exactly what I was expecting, but whatever preconceived notions I had were quickly gone. Think of dim lighting, bright banquettes and an open kitchen for those that like to spy on the guys behind the pass (i.e. me). There is just so much to look at when you walk around, from the minimal entrance to the vibrant main dining area and through to the luxe private dining rooms.
First stop: cocktails. I’m very happy to say the Pina Colada is coming back into fashion, and INDU’s version, the Kerala Kolada, was calling my name. It’s a sweet and refreshing blend of spiced rum, coconut and chai syrup, pineapple and coconut sorbet with the obligatory cherry, and it’s downright delicious.
Right, food. Let’s go. INDU is killing it with a dedicated dosa bar that demands your attention upon entering. These crispy, slightly sweet bad boys are incredibly moreish and (thankfully) we are encouraged to get stuck in with our hands. Win. For me, the clear winner was the smoked goats leg dosa with zucchini ribbon raita, chilli, and bacon jam. Packed full of flavour and topped with just the right amount of pomegranate, it was nothing short of an epic start to the meal. Eyes forward, people. These guys aren’t messing around.
For those that love a bit of bone marrow *puts hand up*, the Kashmiri lamb curry with yoghurt and black cardamom is an excellent choice. It definitely packs a heated punch, so make sure you’re a fan of chilli before ordering. And since we opted for the shared menu to try a bit of everything, their specialty lamb raan was placed in front of us. This soft, yielding bad boy is marinated and slow roasted for 48 hours with yoghurt and spice. It fell off the bone as soon as I looked at it, served with a side of moreish paratha to mop up the saucy goodness.
How could I eat dessert after that, you ask? Sheer willpower. Because the weather was hotter than Chris Hemsworth after a run and I had eaten enough to feed a small country, the watermelon and fresh mint popsicle was perfection. Refreshing, light and not too sweet. Of course, the galub jamun (Indian doughnuts boiled in sugar syrup) were definitely for those with a sweet tooth, and without a doubt worth ordering, I’ve never had anything quite like them.
It’s a bold move opening a restaurant just before Christmas, but these guys have nailed it. Don’t think twice, get INDU it.
Image credit: INDU