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The Colonial, Leichhardt

We seem to have a bit of a penchant for the Colonial of late as we find ourselves in Norton Street heading for an establishment touted as a purveyor of ‘British Indian’ Cuisine. And talking of  repressed colonials a quick stop off at PJ Gallaghers Irish Pub for pre-dinner drinkies and a most excellent pint of Kilkenny’s red ale.

colonial

Ambience
Located on busy Norton Street the Colonial looks inviting with promise of Tapas??, cocktails and a dining garden. Inside we find a contemporary, understated but pleasant enough decor as we are ushered upstairs to a table overlooking the balcony. From what I observed the garden was more yard than Indian oasis.  The place was strangely deserted for a Friday night  and we had the upstairs to ourselves for most of the evening – the locals must be all be at home eating mamas lasagna.

Service
Friendly enough, some may say discreet and unobtrusive, others bloody slow – especially considering the place was almost empty.

Food
Started with various mixed platters (vegetarian, non-vegetarian, seafood) not overly generous portions but tasty. For mains we ordered Aloo Gobhi Masala, Malai Kofta, Railway Goat Curry, Lamb Jalfrezi, Jhinga Jalfrezi (prawns) and Daal Makhani all washed down with lashings of Roti. Rasmalai (a milk pudding)and Kulfi for desert. The feeling overall was that the food was tasty but a little bland and lacking a bit of heat / zing. Favorite dishes included Aloo Gobhi, the lamb and Rasmalai .

 Wine
$2.73 byo corkage per person for wine below. Limited in house wine list.
2009 Casa Santos Lima Quinta Das Setencostas – a fruity Portuguese quaffer
2008 Bloodwood Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards Corrina’s Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon  – Complex and divine
2011 Audrey Wilkinson Shiraz

Value
Standard at around $45 per head for three courses plus all the fixin’s

Overall Score
7/10

Colonial2

Not a bad but not an outstanding dining experience. A good drop in if not a dining destination.

www.thecolonialrestaurant.com.au

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Rangoon Colonial Club Restaurant, Crows Nest

The team has significantly downsized of late and proving difficult to co-ordinate the diaries of the Executive members, hence the hiatus in curry consumption. Anyway on with the pith helmets and off to a favorite from pre-blog way back, the Rangoon Colonial Club Restaurant, Crows Nest.

PS: We are now open for membership. Drop us a line if interested.

Rangoon

Ambience
Ahhh its good to be back ….Welcome to the era of the British Raj. A step into this place transforms the world around you. You are presented with the luxuriant surroundings and cuisine pleasures enjoyed by the Royals during the British Raj.The golden aesthetics of the environment, the hush of the palm trees and lull of the contextual melody plunge you into a realm of dining ecstasy………..  I tried to explain the merits of British Colonial rule to my companions, all to no avail.

Service
Friendly, efficient and attentive. Altogether pleasant. Food served efficiently and promptly on this early Friday evening.

Food
Mixed platter entree to start – lovely.The Guru’s  rate this as the best place for Goat Curry so two Sultan’s Goat Curries are ordered along with Daal Makhini  and a rather overly-sweet Prawn Malibu (its the closest thing to butter chicken I can get away with). Lashings of Roti (graciously supplied with no-butter). The Goat and Daal both superb. Desert to finish – Fig Kulfi from memory?. Nice.

Wine
BYO as always despite a fairly impressive in-house selection.
2010 Torbreck The Steading GSM
2008 Bloodwood Cabernet Sauvignon.
both superb…

Value
Standard / good at around $55 per head for three courses

Overall Score
8.0/10

Great surroundings, Great Food, Great Company. What more could you ask for? (apart from Butter Chicken)

www.rangooncolonial.com.au

Blu Ginger, McMahons Point.

Following a  slow start to the new year the executive members of the team find themselves at Blu Ginger at McMahons Point. A pleasant summer’s evening so it’s another stroll across the bridge to Milsons Point and down trendy Blues Point Road.

BluGinger1

Ambience
For some reason we arrived considerably early for our booking  but welcomed nonetheless and chose a table in the cool interior  rather than an  alfresco setting out front. A small venue but a clean and contemporary decor – no faux Taj-mahal feel about this place. We are the first to arrive but being a Friday evening the place soon gets buzzing with after work diners, locals and families. It’s a small venue – so gets a bit intimate and a lot loud.

Service
Friendly, attentive in a restrained discreet manor. Food served efficiently and promptly.

Food
The menu has a North Indian bent and for entrée we shared a Tandoori Platter and a Blu Ginger Platter, both excellent with the Lamb Cutlets and  Fish banana leaf the stand outs. For mains we chose the Desi Chicken (not as spicy as could have been), Goat Curry, Aloo Matar Paneer and Dahl Tadka. The vegetarian dishes were both good with the Dahl voted the best we can remember having. Things went a bit downhill with desert with the most garish fake green Pistachio Ice Cream ever seen.

BluGinger 2

Wine
BYO as always with a pretty average in house wine list.
2009 Renaissance Zinfandel (Fruity)
2011 Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz

Value
Standard at around $55 per head for three courses, beers and coffee for a table of four.

Overall Score
7.0/10

Overall a pleasant if not outstanding dining experience, good service and bustling vibe.

www.bluginger.com.au

Nilgiri’s, St Leonards.

T’is the season to be Bolly, so time for the Christmas bash. Our numbers are down due to festive frolicking so the executive members of the club are off to somewhere a bit special –  Nilgiri’s @ St Leonards – ho ho ho. A lovely summers evening so a brisk appetite-enhancing walk across the bridge to Milsons Point and a hop on the train to St Leonards.

nilgris

Ambience
Located  within comfortable walking distance of St Leonard’s train station, Nilgiri’s is an unassuming place in Christie Street. Upon arrival we were ushered upstairs from the brightly lit shop  to the comfortable lounge like surroundings of the upstairs restaurant and open kitchen, with the accompanying aroma’s. It’s a Friday evening and soon gets bustling and busy but retains a certain level of intimacy.

Service
Confident. friendly, and discreetly attentive.The Guru’s many queries patiently and attentively addressed.

Food
A constantly changing menu means one is always up for a fresh experience here. We started with the Pudina Kebab, Palak patte ki chaat (crisp fried spinach leaves) , and Pathar ka gosht (lamb cutlets) All good but the Chaat a bit too tooth breakingly crispy. Mains included Goan prawn, Balti ka bakra (goat), Gosht roganjosh(lamb) and Dal makhani with lashings of Roti. The Lamb and Goat were the outstanding dishes. We concluded with coffee and some excellent Kulfis (date & honey and saffron).

Wine
BYO Wine only – we don’t go anywhere that doesn’t really.
2010 Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz (plump and generous)
2010 Possingham Shiraz
2011 Serafino GSM (Fruity)

Value
Not bad at around $70 a head including all the extra’s, deserts and beers.

Overall Score
8.0/10

One of our favorites and a great night out overall. We are coming back to try one of the famous lunch buffets.

http://nilgiris.com.au/

Curry at the Rocks, Millers Point.

It’s Friday night  and we are in need of a feed, so its back to Curry at the Rocks, a perennial favourite and very much our local ‘home ground’. Pre-dinner night drinks at the Lord Nelson (serving a most excellent Red Ale) beforehand then on to see our old friend Ali.

Curry at the Rocks  curry-at-the-rocks-great

Ambience
Located  in colourful surrounds at the end of Kent Street, this unassuming cafe style restaurant isn’t going to win any awards for decor or style but comfortable and pleasant with a relaxed atmosphere . Great for watching passers by and nicely busy for an early Friday booking.

Service
Ali and the staff as friendly, welcoming and keen to please as ever, with prompt service. We had phoned ahead and Ali had kindly popped down to the fish market to pick up a nice snapper for a special dish requested by our Guru.

Food
Started with the assorted Tandoori Sampler and then a selection of mains including Rara Lamb, Special Fish (Maacher  Jhol), Bhindi Dopiaza (Okra), Dal Tadka with lashings of Roti. All good and tasty. The Lamb could have been a tad spicier. Stand out dish- Maacher  Jhol.

Wine
Some fantastic BYO wine this evening:
2007 Tim Adams Cabernet Malbec
2008 Tyrrell’s Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz
2010 St Johns Zinfandel (big, robust and gorgeous)

Value
Average at $50 a head including the special and assorted sundries.

Overall Score
6.8/10

Our local no frills family restaurant, all in all a good experience as always.

http://www.curryattherocksindian.com.au/

Indian Palace, Balmain

Bit of a chilly winters Friday night and over to Bohemian Balmain for a feed. Pre-dinner drinks at the Monkey Bar waiting for the Ladies to finish shopping and very much enjoying the Leffe Ale. On to the Indian Palace just down Darling Street (Balmains’ very first Indian Restaurant apparently).

Indian Palace

Ambience
Located on the main Balmain drag the Palace has a clean crisp and bright decor, maybe not palatial per se’  a bit nondescript.  Nice buzz about the place being a chilly Friday night.

Service
Busy but attentive, met with a bit of indignation when we complained that of our starters the Palak Patta Chat was a bit acrid tasting but after investigation the manager apologised (wrong oil used apparently) and we were not charged. Otherwise efficient.

Food
Overall very nice bar the starter incident. Mains included Prawn Mustard Curry (Ajits’ dish of the day) , Bhuna Goat Curry and Lamb Pasanda. All good.

Wine
BYO – Lots of Taylors for some reason :
2010 Taylors Shiraz (Great value drop)
2010 Taylors Cab Sav
2010 Taylors Merlot
2008 Tyrrell’s Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz

Value
Standard. Around $22 for mains.

Overall Score
7.5/10

Overall good food but a bit more Cafe than Palace.

www.indianpalace.com.au

Maya Tandoori, Surry Hills

‘Twas Friday party night, so we gave Zaaffrans the flick (too expensive?) and moseyed on down to hip Surry Hills to be with the cool crowd. Pre-dinner drinks at the most excellent Vasco Bar Cleveland Street – very Rock N Roll then on to the Maya Tandoori.

photo

Ambience
Located on the first floor above the most excellent Indian Sweet joint, very stylish and refined decor in the modern style. Refrained and subdued atmosphere lends a more  intimate vibe despite the Friday night buzz. Classy. The place did get busier as the evening progressed and easily accommodated our robust political debate on the benefits and legacy of Thatcherism.

Service
Friendly, welcoming and attentive. Lovely patient waitress helped with selecting our orders – always an ordeal with this mob – and offered to take the usual party snapshot. She was also very sympathetic to my plight regarding a total ban on the ordering of Butter Chicken.

Food
We opted for the Maharaja Banquet, mixed starters and each chose a main course – all of a good standard. Selected dishes included Dal Makhani, Chicken Vindaloo, Goat Masala, Fish Tikka Masala, Saag Methi Mushroom and Kofta Naramdil. Stand out dishes included the Mushrooms – exquisite  Chicken Vindaloo – spicy  as it should be but not ‘loo roll in the fridge’ hot and the most excellent hand wrapped Seekh Kebab entree. Guess we will never know re the famous Tandoori Chicken Masala (Butter Chicken)……

Wine
$2 pp corkage, BYO wine included the following:
2010 Peter Lehmann Drawcard Shiraz Mataro
2009 d’Arenberg d’Arrys Original Shiraz Grenache
2010 Campbells Bobbie Burns Shiraz

Value
Good. $35 for the three course Banquet plus a corkage and a few sundries.

Overall Score
7.6/10

A great venue for a Friday night feed. Well located in funky Surry Hills, efficient service, quality food and a great atmosphere.

www.mayatandoori.com.au