Masala Theory’s Thoroughly Modern Indian
The village type atmosphere of Crown Street Surry Hills Food precinct evokes fond childhood memories of growing up in Melbourne. Converted terrace homes now house chic urban restaurants, in a buzzing street that channels the Melbourne vibe.
New Kid on the block Masala Theory is a modern take on Indian food that is a refreshing departure from the Indian most Sydneysiders are accustomed to. A creative interior design with distressed mural’s antiques and unique specially designed tableware, make the room a visual treat.
Owner Yashpal Erda explained “There is a perception of Indian food and I want to change that. ” The menu is a culinary journey through India, taking dishes from many regions rather than focusing on just one. The result is an astounding array of arresting flavours that pack a punch, yet are light, clean and thoroughly modern.
For the Walsh Family Sunday lunch Masala Theory was an exciting prospect. Given our collective fondness for Indian cuisine and having children with very adventurous palates I couldn’t wait to tip toe through the menu.
We shared four starters on chef’s recommendation, which I thoroughly recommend you do too. ‘The Three Sisters’ a sculpture of a three spinach wafers in a tower, with chickpeas, garbanzo beans, date-tamarind syrup, yogurt and mint chutney drizzled over is visually decedent. The flavours are deliciously intertwined with a dominance of sweet and spice. Paneer stuffed Dal Chilla with split green lentil crepe, Indian cottage cheese, raisins cashews and tomato chutney was another surprise that was packed with flavour yet delightfully light.
Prawn cocktails for me are about as interesting as socks but the Prawntini Bhel is ‘Best most exotic prawn cocktail’ on the planet. My children’s favourite by a long shot, the crispy spiced prawns on puffed rice with tomato onion chutney presented in a margarita glass were devoured faster than chocolate. It was a fork fight to the end for every last morsel.
The poriyal, a warm beetroot salad with black mustard seeds, chillies, toasted lentils, curry leaves and coconut is a blend of subtle flavour that marries beautifully with the other starters.
“The flavours are all traditional, we’re just presenting it differently,” says Yashpal
For the main event the kids we insistent they would not be leaving without having butter chicken. I think they are doing some sort of global comparison, as it doesn’t seem to matter where we go in the world butter chicken is requested. By the simple fact the bowl appeared clean by the time they were done mopping up every last bit of sauce with the divine coriander and cheese nan, I’m guessing that Masala Theory’s butter chicken just shot to top of the leader board.
The other mains of Chef’s special goat curry blended with black cardamom, cinnamon, onion tomato gravy and crunchy potato matchsticks along with the barramundi rounded off a flavour adventure that was bound to make my cooking that evening seem rather dull.
Leaving room for the famous smoked beetroot, buttermilk Pana cotta proved tricky given the gusto with which we had greeted all food placed on the table. It’ BYO should you like to have a vino or there’s a variety mocktails and teas. There’s also loads of Vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free options. Food, ambience, service and outstanding food make it unbeatable for a long lazy Sunday lunch.
545 Crown Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9699 9444
Tue to Thu 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10pm
Fri & Sat 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm
Sun 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10pm