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Don't Tell Aunty

  • Restaurants
  • Surry Hills
  • price 2 of 4
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Photograph: Katje Ford
    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
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    Photograph: Katje Ford
  15. Photograph: Katje Ford
    Photograph: Katje Ford

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

It’s a colourful time but the dining experience is a little uneven at this proudly non-traditional Indian restaurant

October 2023 update: Colourful Surry Hills’ "unauthentic" Indian restaurant Don’t tell Aunty (also the recently opened Don’t Tell Uncle) has launched a banging bottomless brunch menu that we reckon you will want to get around this spring and summer.

For $79 per person, enjoy free-flowing wines and beers paired with a tasty shared feast. The meal will begin with Don’t Tell Aunty’s signature snacks called ‘balls of happiness’, which are crisp semolina puffs filled with bright house-made chutneys; before a remix of Indian nachos with chickpeas, salsa and churneys; and crisp cauliflower with a chilli sauce. Next, enjoy a plate of tender chicken marinated in secret spices and cooked in a traditional tandoor. The main act – a show-stopping curry patter featuring six curries (some with meat and some veg) and served with pappadams, rice, raita and garlic naan (yum) will then arrive. Finish with two traditional sweet desserts – we like the sounds of the kulfi, which are milk dumplings soaked in a rose syrup.

For an extra $20 per person you can include free-flowing Margaritas, too.

Indian-born co-owners Varan Deep and Chef Jai Singh took over the reins of the Surry Hills spot in 2020. We checked it out again recently and it was absolutely pumping – proving Sydneysiders can't get enough of this buzzing place.

Don’t Tell Aunty’s bottomless brunch goes for two hours and you can make a booking for it here.

Round up the gang.

- Avril Treasure

Read on for our original review of Don't Tell Aunty by Emily Lloyd-Tait from 2018


The name is a plea, the guilty request of someone who doesn’t want their mother to know they use bottled Napoletana in their pasta or pre-made curry pastes for their laksa. But Don’t Tell Aunty, the spacious mod-Indian diner that has taken over the former 4Fourteen site on Fitzroy Street in Surry Hills, is not so much using shortcuts as they are ignoring tradition with their menu of jazzed up curries, meats from the tandoor and upmarket snacks inspired by the subcontinent. This is the first Sydney venue from chef Jessi Singh, who was behind Horn Please and Babu Ji in Melbourne before taking his mod-Indian fare to the US and back again.

It’s a dark art getting the carb-to-dip ratio right in any cuisine, and here a platter of dips, pappadums and naan needs more of the carbs. That’s because they play a strong hand at condiments, letting your flit between a sweet tamarind chutney, a house-made hot sauce, and a lime pickle that is exactly as potent as you expect. There’s also something minty, something creamy, and a lurid pink beetroot number. It’s like painting by numbers but with your mouth.

Here, butter chicken, the widely accepted yardstick of Indian dining, errs on the side of mild, thick and creamy – it lacks the liveliness you expect from something thick with ginger and garlic. A fish curry draws inspiration from the coastal flavours of southern India, a very good gateway dish for people who are not spice fiends but can appreciate the mild aromatics of curry leaves and coriander.

Aussie lamb chops take the blue ribbbon with mouthfuls of juicy, tender meat, packed with enough cumin to flavour the Spice Garden of India and bearing smoky char along the rib bone like flavoursome epaulettes. The tandoori chicken on the neighbouring table smells so good we are forced to lean over and enquire further. Next time.

Staff seem to have taken cues from the helicopter parenting handbook – we are checked in on a lot. Too often. But there are other things to like, such as the self-service beer fridge, the classic syrupy galub jamun with silver leaf, and the fairy floss machine they have cranking on the counter of the open kitchen. You can order a big puffy pink cloud of the stuff for dessert.

That floss is actually a pretty good barometer of the restaurant as a whole: it’s colourful and a bit of fun. Inside, blue banquettes, green tiles, pink walls are lit by lots of warm, bright lights, which dim to a party vibe as the night wears on and the Indian tunes get louder. This is a very comfortable space to spend an evening, and if you visit at lunch it's only going to cost you $10 for a canteen-style meal. The tendency of Indian cuisine to be inclusive to your gluten-free and vegetarian friends also makes it a solid shout for a group hang. You’re not here for an authentic curry, but when you want a little spice, a cold beer and a silly dessert it’s bang on.


These are the best bottomless brunches in Sydney

Our guide to the best Indian restaurants in the city

In the area? Check out the top places to eat in Surry Hills

Written by
Emily Lloyd-Tait


414 Bourke St
Surry Hills
Opening hours:
Tue-Fri 11.30am-2pm; 5-10pm; Sat 5-10pm; Sun 5-9pm
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