As day turns to night, the lovingly restored cottages along Wigram Street, Harris Park light up. A casual stroll along the picket fence line of this all-year-round light-up wonderland proves an aromatic adventure. Neighbouring cottages, each with their architectural features outlined in lights, also compete for attention using a heady mix of spices.
The warmer weather has their courtyards brimming with early diners, creating a vibrant hubbub of chatter and giving a festive atmosphere to the whole street. Despite their name belying the culinary significance of what is arguably India’s most famous style of dish, we settle upon Not Just Curries.
The deciding factor was their menu’s Northern Indian dishes, highlighting the cooking styles along the Indian-Chinese border. Gobi Manchurian ($12) represents this area of culinary adaptation, where Chinese cooking and seasoning is modified to suit Indian tastes. It presents cauliflower florets that have been battered in spiced cornflour and deep-fried, before being tossed through a gentle, soy-based vegetarian ‘Manchurian’ gravy. It's incredibly compelling to eat.
With a North Indian, home-style sensibility, Goat Curry ($20) presents tender hunks of lean, goat meat on the bone, in a dark, rich gravy. It’s a good advertisement for a dish that’s popular across both India and the Caribbean.
Everything we ordered arrives en-mass, moments after our beers land. We chose the popular Indian Haywards 5000 ($9), which turned out to be an over-sweet, malt-heavy Indian lager, and the Yenda IPA ($8), a better drop which balanced citrus and pine notes against caramel malts, resulting in an easy-drinking beer.
We round out our curry selections with two different takes on chicken. - a nutty, creamy yoghurt-based Chicken Korma ($18) that would be hard not to like, and a bright green Pudhina Murgh ($18) that takes chook somewhere minty and aromatic.
Plain Tandoori Roti ($3) and a selection of sides like Raita ($4) and a tangy Mango Pickle ($2), round out our meal at this Harris Park spot. Despite the cute exterior, the overlit dining room lacks ambience, and while all dishes were solid, nothing was exceptional. For me, it's only in the uniqueness of the Indian-Chinese borderlands dishes that a hint of magic can be found.
Not Just Curries
66 Wigram Street, Harris Park
Ph: (02) 9893 8202