Masala Theory’s décor is as loud as its flavours. Found on Crown Street, the contemporary Indian eatery’s interior is decked out with technicolour murals and Hindi street signs – there’s even your requisite bike-tacked-onto-the-wall, complete with pink neon rims. But it’s the food that really gets our attention.
Masala Theory describes its food as ‘neo-Indian’, with novel twists to traditional flavours and ingredients. Their signature curry bombs are quite literally ‘the bomb’ and feature a crunchy shell filled with spiced chicken or potato. Spoon in as much of the buttery curry sauce as you like and experience a flavour explosion with every bite.
Masala’s naanza (naan-pizza hybrid) also lives up to the hype with an Indian-Italian fusion of cheese, tandoori topping and curry aioli. You’ll also want to fill the colourful mosaic table with reimagined Indian street food favourites like the kingfisher fried chicken; deconstructed samosa; and disco potato bravas.
If you’re after your regular Sunday night butter chicken and garlic naan you won’t be disappointed – the inventive fusion dishes haven’t pushed this old boy off the menu. For a softly spiced authentic experience, try the salli boti: a fragrant goat curry of black cardamom, cinnamon, onion and tomato gravy, simply embellished with a hat of matchstick potatoes. As for the house favourite, order the dhungar chicken tikka masala with thick chunks of smoked chicken smothered in a creamy Mughlai masala sauce.
You’ll see VG dotted throughout Masala Theory’s lengthy menu and there’s a whole section dedicated to vegetarian and vegan mains. Classics like dal makhani and paneer korma sit aside unconventional savoury ricotta kofta and strawberry masala, and an aloo bharta curry with meat-less meatballs. Don’t be shy about sweeping up every last drop of curry with more than 20 naan and roti bread to choose from. Then, finish on a sweet note with a light and bright rose panna cotta.
Masala Theory gives every drink its own neo-Indian avatar, inspired by childhood memories, ancient elixirs and forgotten ingredients. Shake up your night with their Mumbai Margarita featuring silver tequila, Cointreau, pineapple juice, coconut puree, chilli shrub and lime; or opt for their mango and cardamom lassi, house chai or signature spiced gin.
This colourful joint is already dressed up for a party, so if you’ve got a group, make it a feast with their banquet menus that go from $65-$70 per person.