Auckland is littered with ethnic eateries but there has never been an Indian restaurant quite like this, with fusion food that pushes the boundaries.
If you’re looking for a different ethnic dining experience, void of the inevitable full-bodied westernised cuisine, then this small suburban gem should be high on your agenda. Unashamedly located at the upper end of Parnell Rise owner-chef Vishal Kumar doesn’t pull any punches with a menu that has plenty of action. His bill of fare draws on the assertive flavours of his home province of Panipat in northern India, alongside some lively interpretations of better known traditional dishes — including a few closely guarded intoxicating recipes from his mother’s personal repertoire.
Imaginative, light dishes to start include crusted potato and pumpkin pakora ($9), tandoori paneer tikka ($13), masala lamb bites and crispy red onion ($13), peri peri chicken tikka and greens ($13). Vishal’s mains quash the curry-in-a hurry stereotypes with delicious, finger-licking dishes as mughlai chicken korma ($21) simmered with creamy aromatic spices and cashew gravy, vindaloo lamb ($25) a hot and spicy favourite from Goa, butter chicken ($19) marinated in yogurt and masala, Bengali fish ($25) delicately spiced and rich, dal makhani ($17) black lentils and kidney beans slow cooked in ginger, garlic and tomato, Goan prawn caldeen ($25) served in a coconut cream curry with coriander chillies and cumin.
Mains come with rice as well as a selection of sides ($5-7), breads ($3-7), condiments and homemade chutneys ($3). And for the vegetarian there’s something for everyone. Although desserts are not quite as ambitious, save room for coconut glazed hot dumplings ($5).
The wine list, although limited, has plenty of choices including a good selection of local and imported beers.
And the verdict? This latest addition to Parnell’s competitive dining scene is unpretentious, moderately priced with tasty and flavoursome food that’s good enough to earn a loyal following.
Menu 8 | Cuisine 8.5 | Wine List 6 | Service 7 | Décor 7 | Value for Money 8.5