From the first crisp bite of Pappadum ($2.80) with a Side Dish Platter ($6.80/3) of raita (yoghurt, grated cucumber, mustard seeds and dried chillis), kachumber (tomato and onion) and superb mango chutney, I knew I was in for a treat.
Any restaurant that’s survived – nay thrived – for twenty years is obviously pleasing the patrons. This is the more traditional precursor to Woolloomooloo’s picturesque Aki’s, and it’s packed on a Monday! While the next table admits it’s because they “saw this place on MasterChef”, most of the others seem to be regulars.
The well-presented Alu Tikki ($10.80) with lightly spiced potato patties on a bed of dry, flavoursome chickpea masala is a testament to the popularity, satisfying every corner of my mouth.
Vegetarian dishes are jammed with flavour - Ennai Kathrikai ($17.80) with whole baby eggplants in a compelling, creamy sauce of cashews, sesame, peanuts and coconut...
...requires a flaky Parantha Lacchadar ($3.50) to mop up every skerrick.
The more robust Patiala Goat Curry ($19.80) is a perfect match to the 2006 Cloudy Bay Gewurtztraminer ($68/bottle) from a wine list loaded with curry-friendly gems, like those from my favourite Waipara vineyard, Pegasus Bay!
I end with a tangy South Indian Beef Ambotik ($19.80) (intensely vinegary so it eats best loaded up with sides) because I’m too full for dessert – next time!
Abhi’s Indian Restaurant
163 Concord Road, North Strathfield
Ph: (02) 9743 3061