Vanessa: We have all had those unforgettable dining experiences that you want to shout out to the world about and I recently added another to my list. The newly opened Indu, serving up modern indian cuisine, celebrates village culture, flavours and local hospitality and I can guarantee it will be like nothing you have tried before.
Stepping into the glamorous basement level entrance of Indu, my senses were instantly heightened by the dark ambience, the glass dosa kitchen and the sounds of English pop tunes playing overhead (if you are a fan of The Beatles or The Stones you will love their music choice!).
Myself and fellow Team FFS members, Bianca and Alex, were led to our table which was conveniently positioned opposite the kitchen, so we were able to watch Head Chef Binal Kunar and his team at work.
The decor has been carefully considered to reflect a modern yet cultural atmosphere, with various seating options including booths and private dining areas . We were particularly taken by a dining area next to us housing a long table for up to 12 people. The curvature of the walls gave the private dining space a bunker style feeling, further adding to the basement feel of the restaurant.
As we settled in our friendly waitress, Amy, came over to greet us and presented us with the menu. The menu has been designed to reflect the fresh, fragrant flavours of coastal India, but with a modern twist. It is evident that Chef Kunar and owner Sam Prince want to offer diners a different experience of Indian cuisine, so don’t expect to tuck into a butter chicken or a korma as you won’t find one here! The menu offerings range from the dosa bar to coastal dishes, curries and desserts. We were advised to try something from every section which we of course obliged.
As we waited for our dishes, we each sipped on a cocktail from their extensive cocktail menu. I chose the ‘Chennai Chiller’ which was a sweet and refreshing. Bianca went for the ‘Village Negroni’, a distinct cocktail with the lingering flavour of Garam Masala making for an interesting choice. Alex chose the colada with freshly shredded coconut lining the glass – definitely one for the coconut fans.
The first dish to come out was from the Dosa Bar and we were instantly impressed by how visually appealing it was. The sweet crispy dosa was topped with small pieces of chicken masala, pineapple chutney and spiced nuts ($16). This was the perfect balance of taste and texture, with a hint of spice not overpowering the flavour. A great way to start off a meal at Indu as it sets your expectations for what is to come.
The next dish out was from the coast, the pan-seared scallops with tempered curd and smoked coconut ($19). This dish was light and colourful, and the scallops were perfectly cooked leaving them juicy yet firm. Coconut was a distinct flavour of the dish and masked any kind of lingering fishiness from the scallops. An incredibly delicious choice.
From the village section of the menu we ordered the sesame crusted okra coated with cumin & burnt chilli salt and paired with banana and tamarind chutney ($12). Okra is something I would normally steer clear of as I have always found it to have a slightly slimy texture, but the cooking method left them with a fantastic crunch which prevents them from being overly slimy. The banana and tamarind chutney is a unique flavour that works well with the okra.
Also from the village section we chose the watermelon salad, which I absolutely loved. This dish contained so many of my favourite things, including mint, cucumber, yoghurt, Indian dukkha and cardamom pomegranate molasses ($16). A truly vibrant, light and refreshing dish that almost acts as a palette cleanser before moving on to the heavier curries.
We chose two different curries as our main dishes. First up the Goan pork belly curry ($29) which pushed my heat tolerance up a notch! This dish packed a little too much punch for me to enjoy it but Alex and Bianca didn’t have the same problem, commenting that it was their favourite curry of the night.
We also chose the pumpkin and green mango curry with pandan and curry leaves, basil and coconut milk ($26). This mild curry combines the soft textures of pumpkin and green mango in perfect harmony with coconut milk to create a rich and creamy dish.
The accompanying beetroot and apple raita with roasted walnuts and fresh mint ($6) was distinctly unique in its flavours, rich and vibrant in colour and the perfect refresher to cool down the heat of the curry. The apple gave a great crunchy element that worked really well. This was definitely one of the most different raitas I have ever had and was a perfect match for the curries.
I made a last-minute decision to order the pickled tomato, orange & radish salad with lemon yoghurt, cumin salt ($6). This was really the only dish I wasn’t overly wowed by perhaps because I had expected it to be presented differently. Nonetheless the elements work together, serving as a refreshing accompaniment to the curries.
We could not go past ordering a paratha and were very glad we did as it was absolutely beautiful, with its flaky texture and buttery flavour.
For dessert we chose two dishes between the three of us. The Gulab Jamun was rolled in coconut sand with saffron anglaise and kashmiri honeycomb shards ($16). I found this to bee a bit too sweet for my liking, but its a good dessert to end on if you are wanting to share and just have little bit of sweetness to round off the meal. The honeycombs shards were a delicious element to the dish.
We also tried the caramelised pineapple with cardamom dulce de leche, chilli & ginger granita and yoghurt jelly ($16). This was a really interesting dish, refreshing yet strangely spicy as a result of the chilli granita. It was a dessert that grew on you the more you ate.
We rounded off the meal with a piping hot cup of cinnamon and cardamom chai. Rich in flavour, this was a lovely way to end our culinary journey of Indian coastal cuisine.
We left Indu feeling overwhelmingly impressed by the quality of the food, service and the atmosphere as a whole. If you are a lover of Indian food, this is an absolute must try. Get in quick as I have a feeling it won’t be long before it will be hard to book a table!
Photos by Alex
*ForFoodsSake were invited to dine by Wasamedia, all opinions however are our own. Special thanks to Amy and Kirsten for being such lovely hosts.