Before opening the original Indu in Sydney in 2015, owner Sam Prince was working in Sri Lanka. Despite already being entrenched in the hospo industry (fun fact: he founded Zambrero), it was the first time he looked to his Sri Lankan heritage for inspiration.
Prince’s mission remained largely unchanged when he opened Indu’s Melbourne outpost at the start of 2021: he wanted to champion Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisine.
But the food at Indu isn’t strictly traditional. Yes, you’ll find aromatic, real-deal Sri Lankan curries (Prince’s mum’s recipes are used for the coconut-y red-lentil dal and the potato curry), plenty of hoppers (Sri Lanka’s bowl-shaped answer to pancakes, filled with pickled eggplant, pomegranate pearls, goat’s curd and sambol), and house-made paratha (a layered Indian flatbread). But fusion isn’t off the cards.
At Indu, that crossover looks like dosas with smoked Yarra Valley goat’s leg; bacon jam and zucchini raita and crisp besan (chickpea flour) tamarind and cardamom fritters. Plus, curries made with Mount Mercer pork and Lachlan Valley lamb.
Desserts include spiced carrot cake with coriander icing; vegan chocolate-and-cardamom mousse; and mint granita with coconut ice-cream and a pistachio crunch – all of which pair strongly with the Smoked Chai Old Fashioned. The rest of the drinks list is dominated by gin and Australian wines – including aromatic and textural varietals such as fiano and gruner veltliner, and spicy grenache blends – that pair well with the food.
The old space is now fitted out with a palatial mirrored doorway, secluded booths separated by soft linen curtains, and a private upstairs dining room featuring the building’s original stained-glass windows.
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