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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Faheem Fast Food, Enmore

aloo palak

It's Saturday night. You've got tickets to The Merchants of Bollywood. It's their final Sydney performance. You have to have Indian for dinner.

Faheem Fast Food, only a short stroll from the Enmore Theatre, has long been a favourite with theatre patrons for a pre- or post- show eat. It's fast, no-fuss and endearingly cheap. And its late night patronage by Pakistani taxi drivers provides the authenticity seal of approval.

There's a happy buzz inside when we step inside. At the front is an open counter with a view of two giant tandoors. Various male staff members at the front thread skewers of orangey red tandoori chicken for cooking, flip flaps discs of naan between open palms, and handle phone orders, table service and customer payments with efficiency amidst the din.

It's a mixed bunch of clientele inside. Obvious theatre-oers, Enmore locals and groups of Indian and Pakistani families and friends huddle over plates of chicken and towers of naan. Table space is a premium but there are jugs of water for free and plenty of glasses on hand.

garlic naan
Garlic naan $1.80 each
with coriander and roasted garlic

Having dined on southern Indian and Sri Lankan only three nights before, the differences in menu here become immediately obvious. The options here are decidedly spicier and suddenly reminiscent of the curry houses in London. Words like dopiaza and dhansak leap out like long-lost friends. The lamb brain masala also stands out but we decide to postpone that option for our next visit (when we're not entrapped in a theatre seat for two hours).

The nihari (hot spicy rich curry with beef) is described as "a trendy dish in traditional Pakistani style", and I'd heard that the katta kat (beef liver and kidney in a traditional Pakistani hot curry) was a specialty. But tonight we elect for simple fare which isn't offal (groan).

tandoori fish
Tandoori fish tikka $9.50
Leatherjackets marinated with ginger, garlic and
traditional spices cooked in the tandoor

The tandoori fish tikka is a plate of four portions of leather jacket marinated much like tandoori chicken. The fish was surprisingly moist, the flesh firm, and the outer bits coated in a charred mass of fiery spices.

kashmiri naan
Kashmiri naan $2.80
stuffed with flaked almonds, coconut and sultanas

We ordered both garlic naan and kashmiri naan, which arrive piping hot on a faded plastic colander, the kashmiri naan still glistening with a fresh swab of melted butter. The naan is not as bouffant and fluffy as Janani, but flatter and a little more crispy.

The kashmiri naan is particularly enjoyable, filled with a wadding of flaked almonds, shredded coconut and a handful of sweet and juicy sultanas. The kashmiri naan provides a sweet palate cleanser between mouthfuls of curry which we soak into our strips of garlic naan.

dal palak
Dal palak $8.00
Mixed lentils and spinach cooked with spiced tomatoes
and fresh coriander

The dal palak is somewhat splattered around the rim of the plate but the no-frills presentation is accepted as part of the Faheem experience. The tomato sauce is thick with lentils and a warming concoction of ginger, garlic, fenugreek and cumin.

aloo palak
Alook palak $8.00
Spinach and potatoes cooked in spices

The aloo palak is a rich dark colour and a similarly thick consistency. Spinach combines with fat cubes of fried potato in a hearty sauce of spicy tomato, scattered generously with shards of bright green coriander.

We eat our curries with naan and plain basmati rice. Sips of cooling mango lassi--which we grab from the back fridge as instructed--soothe the tongue, and I watch as the table in front of us changes patrons a least three times during our meal.

We pay for our meals at the counter on our way out, waiting patiently as a skewer of chicken is hauled from the tandoor.

"How many drinks from the fridge?" the man asks, as he tallies up our docket. We juggle notes and coins with much less grace and finesse. We'd never make it in Bollywood.

Merchants of Bollywood poster

The Merchants of Bollywood opens in Melbourne tomorrow before the thirty Indian dancers take their stage show to Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and then New Zealand.

And it was shoulder-shaking infectious fun. A patchy plot but plenty of razzle dazzle dancing and arm-waving to keep everyone nodding in time to the music.

faheem fast food

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Faheem Fast Food
194-196 Enmore Road, Enmore, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9550 4850 or +61 (02) 9550 4803

Opening hours
7 days 11am - midnight dine-in and takeaway

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Faheem Fast Food (Jul07)
5 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 10/20/2005 09:52:00 pm


  • At 10/21/2005 2:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No Faheem's experience is complete without "Haleem - the King of Curries" - braising beef cooked down with lentils until they're one amorphous puddle of goo. Yummy goo.

  • At 10/21/2005 7:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I saw the Merchants of Bollywood advertised here recently. It never crossed my mind to go but now I'm thinking combined with an Indian meal beforehand it could be fun.

  • At 10/21/2005 8:26 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    A Bollywood flick and Indian food? Unheard of here. I can get the food, but have no where to go to see the film. *shucks* =(

  • At 10/22/2005 4:33 am, Blogger Joycelyn said…

    hi ag, terrific post and fabulous pictures as always...what i would do to rip into some fluffy naan right now!

  • At 10/24/2005 2:43 pm, Blogger deborah said…

    Mmm, looks delicious. I giggled at your thoughts on ordering something a little risky, but keeping in mind that you were to be seated in a packed theatre for a couple of hours. I quite like tandoori fish - always good with spanish mackeral as well.


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