Mixed tandoori platter $24.80
The mixed tandoori platter is a popular option this evening, appearing on several tables around us. Seekh kebabs are a mixture of lamb mince with black cumin seeds, mace, ginger, black pepper, coriander and fresh green chillies.
I prefer the hariyali chops, lamb cutlets marinated in pureed spinach, coriander, chickpea flour and green chillies. The meat is tender and coaxing it from the bone is a satisfying task.
Chicken tikka is a little drier off the bone, but there's plenty of flavour in the free range fillets, marinated in yoghurt with mace and ginger and cooked in the tandoor until the edges have caramelised.
Goa fish curry $24.80
A gentle prod with a fork proves that the barramundi fillets in the Goa fish curry are perfectly cooked. The sauce, thick and creamy with coconut, is fragrant with coriander, cumin and turmeric. The fish flakes easily and we mop up the sauce with basmati rice and torn bits of garlic naan, fluffy with a crisp edge on the bottom.
Plain basmati rice $2.90 per person
Our vegetarian dishes are the last to arrive and I enjoy these the most. Ennai kathrikai consists of fat chunks of young eggplant, smoky and unctious, served in a spicy cashew and peanut coconut sauce. Thick slices of banana chile provide crunch.
Paneer is always a favourite. We find generous wads of this homemade cotttage cheese in the paneer pasanda. The mild cheese takes on all the flavours of the sauce, a combination of cashews, tomatoes, onion and cumin hiding slices of green capsicum.
The layering of spices is impressive in all of our dishes, and we take our time to contrast and appreciate the complexity of each one.
The double-ka-meetha, we are told, is a regal dessert that is an essential part of every Hyderabadi wedding, a city and former state known for its obsession with fine food. Two triangles of bread are fried and then soaked in a syrup of rosewater, honey and cardamom.
Essentially a bread pudding, there's a slightly oily aftertaste that's helped by the scoop of rose petal ice cream that is light and refreshing. A small adornment of edible leaf is a decadent touch.
Gulam jamun $10.80
Gulab jamun are quite large in size, but oddly served already sliced in half. It means they're not as swollen or heavy with syrup, but the milk dumplings are still rich and satisfying, spiced with cardamom and sprinkled with pistachio.
Chai tea is the ideal drink to complete our meal and aid digestion, stronger in brew than the we'd had at Aki's, and aromatic with cinnamon, cloves, star anise and ginger. It's a soothing finish to dinner where the only breeze you'll find here is the ease of parking. Always a good thing.
> Don't forget to check out Freebie Friday this week for a dining giveaway at Aki's Indian Restaurant.
Grab Your Fork dined as a guest of Abhi's Indian Restaurant
163 Concord Road
North Strathfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9743 3061
Lunch Sunday to Friday from 12 noon
Dinner Monday to Sunday from 6pm
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