Wander up the stairs from King Street at the door labeled Posh Spice and you'll find yourself in a large, bright room with decor that screams Bollywood Indian Princess. The flat screens are playing Bollywood movie clips and there's the promise of live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night. Even better, unlike many Indian restaurants, they also have a cocktail list...
Okay, they're not exactly named in a sophisticated fashion, but suck it up and ask for Sex in Mumbai ($10). It's the tall drink on the left and quite good. As for the one on the right, you know a cocktail made an impact when you nab the recipe to make at home and I’ve been drinking the Bollywood Mojito ($10) combining Malibu, mint and soda all weekend. It's actually just one of the things I’d recommend at Amit Guha’s recently re-branded restaurant.
Order the Kasoori Lamb Cutlets ($13), my palate sang from their fresh, fragrant spicing. I did look a little askance at the red sauce plate decoration, but it's a small thing. It's actually a chili sauce with a bit of bite to it, so it's not totally useless.
The hung Harra Kebab ($9) spinach patties are the kind of vegetarian dish that can make even meat eaters sit up and pay attention - don’t miss them. They're complex, have real heat and excellent flavour - enough to distract me from the squiggly plating which by this stage is grating a little.
All is forgiven when the Veal Pasanda ($25) arrives. This is a must-try. It shows off the chef’s fifteen years of five star hotel cooking with Taj Hotels by combining Indian flavours with French technique.
It makes for magical mushrooms in excellent gravy that requires mopping via Garlic Roti ($3.50) or Laccha Parantha ($4). The roti was better, the paratha is the one I remembered to photograph (badly) above whilst waxing lyrical about the mushrooms.
We had another dish... I barely recall it - it was Mustard Fish ($18). Cute presentation (and no red squiggles) but totally outclassed by the veal. They would have been wise to land this one on the table first, because once I tried the veal, I found it hard to taste this one. The veal was a house specialty, and as such the most expensive dish on the menu at twenty five dollars.
We had rice, sides, but the next moment of note was the entertainment.
The solo female dancer delivered a hip, high energy routine complete with ritualised audience participation that was very respectfully handled. Probably works better for groups where more alcohol is consumed and public humiliation more valued; that said, it didn't impact negatively on my night either.
I was actually more excited by my dessert the Rasmalai ($7). It's one you'll either love or you'll hate. The home-made cream cheese cakes sit in a rosewater and saffron sauce. It’s plated like a curry, and the sauce is a winner. Shame there's not a sweet roti to mop it all up. The cakes themselves sat curiously on my Western palate.
I'd call this one fun, flirty and group friendly. There are more unusual fusion dishes on the menu that I would be interested in trying.
First Floor, 196 King Street, Newtown
Ph: (02) 9557 6399