Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fresh Spice @ Masala Theory in Surry Hills, Sydney.

When my inbox recently received a press release about a new Indian restaurant in Surry Hills that was bowling diners over with its innovative take on Indian cuisine. Well it grabbed my attention right away as I love Indian food! However I am not one to recirculate press releases, so I offered to head on down and give Masala Theory a try, and blog a post if the food turned out as great as it sounded. Well you already know it clearly went well; read on for details of our Masala Theory (MT) taste experience below.
Beetroot Poriyal on the front veranda at Masala Theory, Surry Hills, Beetroot, mustard seeds, chillies, lentils, coconut. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney.
After being welcomed and seated by restaurant manager Vittal Iyer, Vivienne and I kicked off with two of the new-twist house specialities from the drinks menu, Viv went for a Lavender Lassi and I opted for the 'Bubblegum' flavour - as much out of curiosity as anything else. We were both rewarded by our choices. The bubblegum being more like a mild strawberry with vanilla hints was quite to my liking and not too sweet. My taste of the Lavender lassie confirmed my own choice as I found the flavour a little too botanical for my liking, though Viv clearly enjoyed it.
Vivienne relaxes with a Lavender Lassi at Masala Theory, Surry Hills, . Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney.
We started with a main, the Chef ’s special Salli Botti, a goat curry with black cardamom, cinnamon;
an onion and tomato gravy with match-stick potatoes. Vittal explained to us that many of the dishes are based on favourite Parsi recipes familiar to himself, MT founder Yashpal Erda and chef Rushabh Rupani. The Salli Botti is a rich sauce, fresh fragrant spice, plenty of tender fall-apart goat meat complex flavour and a slow building heat. Blowing your head off with heat is not something that will happen to you at Masala Theory. There is heat here, but the real name of the game is the complex flavours you would expect from Indian curries with an accent on fresh spices and the use of micro herbs to enhance the overall taste experience - which, next up -  the Beetroot Poriyal absolutely nailed in one.
Salli Botti with Cheese Chilli Coriander Naan at Masala Theory. Chef ’s special goat curry, black cardamom, cinnamon, onion and tomato gravy, match-stick potatoes. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney.
Plating a serve of Salli Botti with Cheese Chilli Coriander Naan at Masala Theory. Chef ’s special goat curry, black cardamom, cinnamon, onion and tomato gravy, match-stick potatoes. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney.
Detail of Beetroot Poriyal; Beetroot, mustard seeds, chillies, lentils, coconut at Masala Theory, Surry Hills. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney.
Beetroot Poriyal, beetroot, mustard seeds, chillies, lentils, coconut and wow! This dish is a fresh taste sensation and not like any small salad I have ever had. The Mustard seeds and Lentils are pan fried and the flavours infuse the dish; but a word of warning, these elements are quite hard and I suspect could be a dental issue for some. I skipped most of the lentils myself & quizzed Vittal about their hardness which he assured me is as it should be and as it is eaten in India. Perhaps a version with a dusting of pulverised lentils and mustard seeds might be nice for those of us with less than fabulous teeth! But what great taste, not to be missed. Next was the Eggplant Bharta, Smoked eggplant mashed with onion, tomatoes chillies and spices. When I was thinking the flavours could not get any better along comes this tandoori oven cooked smoked eggplant dish, and two competing, conflicting(?) thoughts kept pushing themselves into my mind, smokey and fresh! And fresh the spice flavours were which I suspect reinforced the smokiness of eggplant, well accompanied by a garlic naan. And then desert!
Beetroot Poriyal, Eggplant Bharta, Garlic Naan; at Masala Theory, Surry Hills, . Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney.
Eggplant Bharta resting on garlic Naan; Smoked eggplant mashed with onion, tomatoes chillies and spices at Masala Theory, Surry Hills, . Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney.
Just when I thought it really couldn't get any better out comes this absolutely delicious, amazing, gob smackingly moreish iced desert. The Paan Kulfi, and the menu description "Creamy Indian ice cream, flavoured with betel nut leaves" does not even begin to hint at what you are in for. Both Vivienne and I were quite literally gob smacked. If you think you have tried all the icy deserts, even if you are not hot for Indian food - no pun intended - I can certainly recommend dropping in for the Paan Kulfi desert; and you can leave your thank-yous in the comments below.

One final note, the interior of Masala Theory is super funky, retro Indian chic; and if I had taken my tripod along I would have supplied you with some shots. Great food and a great atmosphere; congratulations and thank you Masala theory. If you love Indian food or ice cream!!! definitely give them a try, details below.
Manager Vittal Iyer at Masala Theory, Surry Hills. Photographed by Kent Johnson for Street Fashion Sydney.
Masala Theory's  Vittal Iyer at Masala Theory, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia. 
Masala Theory
 545 Crown Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 +61 2 9699 9444
Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday 12noon-3pm & 6pm-10pm
 Friday-Saturday 12noon-3pm & 6pm-10:30pm Monday Closed
www.masalatheory.com/

Lavender Lassi $7.00
Cheese Chilli Coriander Naan $5.00
Garlic Naan $4.00
Salli Botti $26.90
Beetroot Poriyal $5.90
Eggplant Bharta $20.90
Paan Kulfi $12.90

Full disclosure, Street Fashion Sydney was a guest of Masala Theory and did not pay for this meal and was not paid for this review. All views expressed are my own.

Telling Stories in Pictures all over Sydney..

Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863


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