With each new arrival there is a chorus of greetings, the kind you reserve for old friends.
It’s clear that despite moving a few doors up the road, Malabar Darlinghurst has retained its loyal regulars, and they seem delighted with the new setting. They should be; it’s thoughtfully renovated with great attention to detail, down to wall-sized murals, and plentiful air conditioning vents.
And unlike the former space that owner and chef Mohammed Sali occupied since 2003, the new space is drowning in natural light with city skyline views.
The menu has made the hop as well, preventing unrest from those Malabar regulars. Mohammed squeezes a few new South Indian dishes onto his Chef’s Specials, including Kovalam Barramundi ($14), which impresses with clean flavours that prioritise the fish.
Similarly, Mellagu Prawns ($16) combines peppercorns, tomato and fennel seeds into a roundly aromatic dish that complements, rather than competes with, the crustaceans.
Pull back with one of the signature crispy rice and lentil crepes - Bangalore Dosai ($14) – before diving into richly flavoursome Goat Mappas ($23). This Kerala-inspired curry combines tender goat, coconut milk and green chilli.
With the distinctive sour tang of kokum, the Goan Fish Curry ($24) is worth the trip alone, particularly when mopped up with standout flatbreads like the Cheese Naan ($4.50).
1/274 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9332 1755