Nithik’s Kitchen was empty on the Thursday evening I dined. The menu has seen some adjustments since those early, more experimental days, where owner/chef Vikram Arumugam was keen to expand upon his decade of experience at Indian fine-diner, Aki’s in Woolloomooloo.
Working more to the tastes and dining proclivities of the residents of Rozelle, the restaurant has now found its groove as a better-than-just-competent suburban Indian restaurant. However that’s not to say that the menu doesn’t stray beyond Sydney's tried and true Indian standards. In the marigold yellow dining room, I returned to a long-term favourite, Kuzhi Paniyaram ($17).
Made with a fermented urad dal (black lentils) and rice batter, these dumplings are made using a mould (like Dutch poffertjes).
Adorned with crisp curry leaves, this Chettinad (South Indian) specialty are fun to dab in the golden line of home-made curry leaf gun powder and pop into your mouth with your fingers.
Made using a similar batter, the Madurai Kothukari Dosa ($24) is a pancake stuffed full of hand-pounded lamb and egg, and served with a soupy little side dish of lamb salna (that's also perfect for dipping flatbread into). Vegetarians don’t have to miss out on dosa, with the Masala Dosa ($19) stuffed with a tasty mix of Julia Crème spuds sourced from Garry Kadwell’s fourth generation potato farm in Crookwell, NSW.
The beer list has improved since my last visit, with Feral Hop Hog ($13) making an excellent dosa companion drink. Wines remain under fifty bucks, with the 2015 Delatite Dead Man’s Hill Gewürztraminer ($42/bottle) proving a bit Turkish delight-sweet for my tastes these days. Next time I’ll hopefully remember this is one Inner West restaurant that still allows you to BYO (and that the bottle shop directly across the road has a terrible range).
While service left a little bit to be desired on this revisit, with our waiter noisily pouring used cutlery from our plates onto the platter, and stacking the dishes at our table, the curries remain on point. Kola Urundai Kolumbu ($27) sees lean, finely grained, hand-shaped lamb kofta simmered in a tasty coconut and cashew gravy with decent heat and plenty of flavour.
It’s the kind of gravy that will have you reaching for your Peshwari Paratha ($6) and dragging the coconut, date and raisin-stuffed flatbread right in. The - even better - Masala Cheese and Onion Paratha ($6), is so super-tasty, it’s worth eating it as is, without dipping it in anything.
We contrasted our lamb curry with Kathirikai Chops ($22) where baby eggplants swim in tomato, masala, coconut, cumin, peppercorn, fennel and curry leaves. This vegetarian curry also ate well on well-separated long grain Steamed Rice ($4) the next day with the kitchen happy to package our leftovers up to take away.
NOTE: You can see a previous review for this restaurant back HERE.
701-703 Darling Street, Rozelle
Ph: (02) 8084 8921