Like no other Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to, Masala Theory in Surry Hills is a funky spot where the music and the décor add to the vibe. When I dined there recently, the atmosphere was so inviting, even before trying their fabulous food. This totally sitar free zone, made it worth visiting just to listen to their eclectic music and to view the murals of sunglass wearing, sari clad Bollywood women on skateboards.
Vittal, the friendly manager, described Masala Theory as having a modern Bombay vibe.
The food journey began with a glass of Lavendar Lassi, a delicious yogurt drink that maybe was better than a glass of champagne.
The crisp poppadams with a mint sauce were quickly eaten, as once you start you can’t stop and another serving was ordered.
The Three Sisters Chat was a sculptural masterpiece consisting of crispy fried English spinach, garbanzo beans, chickpeas, sweetened yogurt and date tamarind chutney and mint chutney. This dish had to be seen to be believed, tasting as good as it looked.
Beetroot Poriyal made beetroot the star with mustard seeds, coconut, chillis and lentils adding to the flavour. A definite must.
To my taste, the Smoked Eggplant was very hot, but I wanted to give it a try as the eggplant bharta blended with onion, tomato, chillies and spices sounded too good to miss.
A superb butter chicken, made completely from scratch with ground cashew nuts, gave new meaning to this traditional dish, which is often abused by cooks.
Accompanying the meal were two varieties of naan, one garlic and the other cheese, chilli and coriander.
There was no way I could leave Masala Theory without trying two of their spectacular desserts which Vittal recommended. I certainly enjoyed the Masala Chai Pannacotta and the cinnamon ice cream was full of flavour.
To experience a different twist on Indian food, Masala Theory is a must visit for either lunch or dinner.
Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond