There’s a new sort-of-Indian diner on Stanley Street. It serves a juicy, crunchy fried half-chicken with pickled cauliflower and cucumber; yoghurt; vindaloo hot sauce; and three folds of buttery paratha (flat) breads. The idea is to carve a piece of chook off the bone, place it in the bread and douse it in pickles, yoghurt and hot sauce.
“We're trying to take the spices and flavours of India but not necessarily serve them in Indian food,” says Brick Lane’s Kiran Bains. Bains, and business partner Alistair French (who comes from a restaurant-managing post at Papi Chulo), have brought in Joey Ingram (ex-Claude’s and Tetsuya’s) to change traditional Indian fare into something fresher, cuisine-bending and new.
There’s a fried-egg bap with curry sauce and miniature potato chips; smoked beef brisket with soft-boiled eggs, curried hot sauce and papadums; and even a Vietnamese-inspired “naan-mi” with spiced pork belly, pate, spring onions and chilli wrapped in naan. There are some wild ideas, certainly different to anything else out there, but they’re still accessible, which Bains and French say is essential to the Brick Lane concept.
“Brick Lane [in London] isn't just known for its food. It's also known for its street art and fashion. It's a place in London people tend to gravitate to if they're a little bit unconventional,” says Bains. While the food on the famous London street is mostly traditional rice and curry, the mood there is what Bains and French are inspired by; fun, unconventional and experimental.
The restaurant’s façade is lit by neon, which is also underneath some of the inside benches. A bare brick wall hosts Shannon Crees’s multi-textured depictions of Indian holy men. The hidden back corner (obscured by the bar) is plastered with an Eve Bracewell installation of old newspaper comic strips. That back bar serves some vaguely Indian-inspired cocktails and four gin and tonics. “We've got boutique gins with individual tonics and garnishes that match the botanicals in the gin,” says French.
75 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst
(02) 8964 9318
Tue to Sat 12pm–3pm, 5.30pm–10pm