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A hip Indian diner lands in Darlo
There’s no rule that says subcontinental dining needs to be old fashioned to be good, and yet few restaurants stray from the expected Raj-era décor, those little copper pots and North Indian curries that have been adapted for Western palates.
Except at Brick Lane. This is a thoroughly modern iteration of a curry house, which is why it has managed to slip through the Italian stranglehold on Stanley Street and set up shop in an old terrace. Inside, it’s all chipped brick, tungsten globes and paste-up murals of Hindu holy men lit by the red neon glow of the Brick Lane sign – the look is a lot more Darlo than New Delhi. And what’s coming out of the kitchen is even harder to pin down to a single origin point.
Shatteringly crisp samosas with spinach and cheese are closer to a pastizzi than the potato and pea parcels you know and love. A subcontinental take on a banh mi sees buttery paratha spread with pâté and wrapped around tender pork belly with red chillis, green onion and coriander. Juicy, fatty spiced lamb chops find harmony with lightly pickled, salty eggplant pieces and a neutralising yoghurt base.
This is creative, snappy cooking from chef Joey Ingram, who has done time under Sydney culinary royalty like Chui Lee Luk and Martin Benn. He’s sending out a tender puck of tuna cooked medium rare and crusted with whole cumin and fennel seeds, with spicy reinforcements from a ring of finely diced zucchini and potato curry and a smooth, green coriander dahl. Caramelised onion pieces, crunchy chilli rounds and crisp little lentils crown this deconstructed curry that fits back together like a savoury puzzle with each bite.
Don’t leave without a serve of the king prawns. The sweet crustaceans are cooked in the shell and then draped over spiced basmati rice with a creamy coconut curry on top. Prise out some prawn meat, add it to a betel leaf with some rice and curry sauce, and then cap it off with slices of cooked nectarine for a tropical flounce.
There’s an ebullience to your meal here. Service is swift and eager and they devote as much page space to booze as they do food. It’s almost too easy to have a good time here, especially if they keep those king prawns coming.
|Opening hours:||Mon 5.30-10pm; Tue-Fri noon-3pm, 5.30-10pm; Sat 6-10pm|