Pani puri can be a lot thinner and crisp though a tangy appetizer.
UPDATE December 2015: This restaurant has permanently closed for business.
First, he co-founded Longrain that showcased why Thai food is so much more than just green curry and kana moo krob.
Then, his hellenic vibe of Apollo brought us taramasalata white cod roe dip and flatbread while paying homage to good old Greek style smoky charred octopus. And Cho Cho San introduced seductive modern Japanese izakaya so sensual on those breezy summer nights in Sydney.
Now, Sam Christie‘s latest foray into modern Indian is adding even more spice to the melting pot of restaurants in trendy Surry Hills.
Subcontinental, Surry Hills
Do you spot a trend here?
Modern Thai, modern Greek, modern Japanese and then modern Indian. Perhaps his sommelier background has nurtured a transition into a restaurateur with a honed palate for matching great Australian wines with more than just traditional Asian flavours.
Mysaucepan and Miss mh_legacy have been craving spicy curry.
But as I down an icy cold Tiger so apt to complement Indian food, it is Christie’s exotic take on traditional Asian flavours that I am looking forward to.
Made with semolina and chickpea dough then deep fried until it becomes a hollow puff, the classic Indian pani puri is stuffed with spiced potato and cucumber.
Tamarind water is added and we immediately pop the entire thing into our mouths so it doesn’t become soggy. This pani puri can be a lot thinner and crisp though it is an appetizing and tangy prelude to our meal.
Vego biryani is spiced rice with cauliflower florets, sweet potato, cashew nuts, herbs and saffron.
Both Mysaucepan and Miss mh_legacy are enjoying this dish though I find the cashews a little soft and miss the absence of sweet raisins.
Naan bread is fluffy and warm, heightening our anticipation for some fiery Indian curry.
Dry cury of okra, potato and Kashmiri chilli
Thin slices of okra, potato and Kashmiri chilli are made into a dry curry that’s a little too mild for me though flavours are on the mark.
Jaffna masala curry with slow cooked lamb
My choice of Jaffna masala curry with tender chunks of slow cooked lamb in a rich, coconuty sauce is full-on spicy.
It’s my favourite dish of this meal so far as I eventually mop up the bowl with naan bread.
Sri Lankan black curry with crispy pork belly
I’m not sure if pork belly is best in a curry though I’m told it’s one of the signature dishes.
Pickled banana blossom is mild and the sauce lacks the depth and complexity with cumin playing solo.
Coconut and jaggery custard
Coconut and jaggery custard is dusted with ginger crumbs, mint jelly and pandan puree. It’s a sweet and refreshing end to our meal.
Subcon is fairly pricey but we’re talking Surry Hills after all.
One can find similar flavous that’s easier on the hip pocket in the litany of south Indian restaurants along Wigram street in Harris Park. But that’s so long as you’re not a hipster that needs a dose of Surry Hills hype every now and then.
Luckily for me, a dose of Harris Park’s cheap and cheerful Indian can do me just fine.
So dear readers, which is your favourite Indian restaurant in Sydney?
8 Hunt street, Surry Hills
New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9280 0088
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 5.30 – 10.30pm