Getting a seat at Surry Hills’ Don’t Tell Aunty, one of the city’s most beloved Indian restaurants, can be a challenge. That’s why owners Varan Sawhney and Jai Singh have opened a second restaurant, Don’t Tell Uncle, in Cammeray.
It offers the same welcoming atmosphere and cheeky “unauthentic” approach to Indian fare as its sibling, with a slightly more polished approach. “We wanted to give our customers a place where they could still experience what we do, but a bit differently,” Sawhney tells Broadsheet. “[It’s] more elevated.”
Uncle’s menu is tighter than Aunty’s. The chicken kali mirch is the star of the starters. Here, the traditional north Indian curry is revamped as a crisp and extremely moreish dish of sizzling black-pepper chicken strips.
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Fans of Singh’s Surry Hills hits will be pleased to know that many are crossing the bridge, including the blue cheese-infused naan and chilli-laden tso cauliflower. The mainstay of both menus is the Aussie lamb chops, which in North Sydney come with pickled cabbage instead of the usual eggplant salsa, with a new marinade of vinegar, garam masala, garlic balsamic, fenugreek and ginger.
You’ll fine main dishes – dubbed Uncle’s Master Strokes – such as prawn kerala masala, a rich coconut curry hailing from southern India, and beef nadaan, with tender boneless shanks of veal in a rich tomato curry with a touch of roasted coconut.
While Aunty is splashed with peacock blues and neon pinks, Uncle is dressed in grown-up shades. High-backed banquettes are covered in champagne-gold or royal-red velvet at tables dressed in midnight-black tablecloths. There’s space for a crowd of 87, and the soundtrack shifts with the evening’s mood from R’n’B to ballads from the ’80s and ’90s.
Highlights of bar manager Dipesh Limbu’s wine list include AJ Adam riesling from Germany’s Mosel Valley, to Abbotts & Delaunay pinot noir made in the French wine region of Pays d’Oc. “[Dipesh] has done so much research and spent hours with suppliers,” says Sawhney. “He dreams of wine when he sleeps at night.”
Don’t Tell Uncle
504 Miller Street, Cammeray
(02) 9221 5127