While I was dining recently at The Burlington, my smoking companion retrieved a menu which sounded interesting from an Indian restaurant next door called Cumin. A few weeks later we attended as diners.
The dishes here are mostly North Indian, but I found the South Indian Baga Maachi ($18.90) the most memorable dish. It’s owner/chef Ravi Gandhi’s creamy, coconut-rich version of the classic Goan fish curry made with Ling, and he cooks it well.
The delectable Maachi Tikka ($15.00 / 6 pieces) is also well-cooked, so definitely eat fish if you dine here! You can see it in my photo, it's the third from the left, and as you can see, none of the usual orange food colouring, just the real colour of the spices.
The Lahoree Champ ($15.50 / 4 pieces) gets you nice lamb cutlets studded with a fragrant and fresh peppery spice mix (far right of my photo). The Calamari Amritsari ($12.50 / 8 pieces) gave us a different take on battered calamari, with the batter based on chick-pea flour and accented with Ajwain seeds. They are the orange rings in my photo above.
Dishes like the Chandni Kebab ($14.50 / 4 pieces) in the ‘First Impressions’ (pictured in the photo before this one on the left) and the Beef Do Pyaza ($17.90) in the ‘Masterpieces’ are lightly spiced making them perfect ways to introduce newcomers to the pleasures of Indian food. If you’re wondering about authenticity, be reassured by the fact Ravi owns two restaurants in India too! You can see the curry to the far left of the photo below, as well as the Baga Maachi ($18.90) I mentioned liking best on the far right. In the foreground is the Murg Peshawari ($18.90), a chicken curry which was pleasurable and not overly spiced. The gravy was good, though the curry on the far right was the winner in the curries-to-dip-your-naan-into competition.
Order the Chilgoza Falli ($15.50) a vegetarian curry of stringless green beans and pine nuts which is an unusually fresh on the palate sensation.
A layered wholemeal Laccha Paratha ($3.50) proved satisfying; as was a low-gas Cobra Beer ($7) which also matched the cuisine well. I am quite getting into beer with spicy Indian foods - finally I understand what others have liked in it for so long! One of the good things about eating out a lot is that you finally get to try a range of each thing until you find out whether your dislike is for all beer, or just for certain types. I have now found Belgian, Canadian and Indian Beers that I enjoy.
The Cumin Special Prawns ($17.50) would be the only dish I found unsuccessful. The prawns themselves were good and cooked beautifully, but the cashews and spices coating them were a bit abrasive, losing the texture of the prawn.
There's definitely something unique about this restaurant, plus it has the added bonus of combining authenticity and a desire to also be fiscally sustainable (ie please the Western palate) too, so you can enjoy authentic whilst dining with diners who generally would not like Indian food. I would imagine it would be an easy restaurant to introduce children to the cuisine too.
2 Burlington Street, Crows Nest
Ph: (02) 9436 3669