Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Interior photos courtesy of Wasamedia
I find Indian cuisine both fascinating and beautiful. It’s steeped in so much history, with influences from the British and surrounding Asian countries sprouting countless regional variations. Complimented by the extensive use of a vast array of spices and aromatics, it’s an amazing, but I find somewhat misunderstood, cuisine – there’s much more to Indian food than just curry! Aki’s does well to bring a modern spin to traditional dishes.
It was a gorgeous, sun-drenched Sunday afternoon when my cousin and I headed out to Aki’s Restaurant, which was recently awarded it’s first Chef’s Hat in the Good Food Guide Awards, making it the only Indian restaurant in Australia with this accolade. Situated on prime real estate on the gorgeous Wooloomooloo wharf, it’s a stunning location and taps into one of the things Sydney does best – relaxed waterfront dining.
My cousin Ros had never tried Indian before, and I hoped that by the end of lunch, she would love it as much as I do. With so many delicious sounding options, the choice was a tricky one, but we decided to start with the rather delicious Tandoori Kingfish was another beautiful dish, marinated in green chilli, ginger and yoghurt, which gave it a vibrant yellow colour and just the right amount of spice. The fish had then been cooked in a tandoor oven, was perfectly cooked and fell apart with the slightest nudge from a fork.
Next up we had entrée of Namkeen Squid, which is Aki’s own take on the ever-popular salt and pepper squid. The squid was dusted with spiced tapioca flour and served with a tamarind and ginger dipping sauce. It was perfectly cooked, and not the tiniest bit chewy, and I couldn’t get enough of that dipping sauce!
Roslyn’s favourite was the Palak Patta Chat, a must order when you come here! Battered and fried spinach leaves may sound a little strange, but it’s absolutely delicious with the accompanying chickpeas and potatoes, yoghurt, date, tamarind, chilli and mint sauces. It’s a beautifully balanced dish in terms of flavour and texture, plus the presentation is just stunning. And in case you were wondering, the recipe for this awesome dish is in Issue 2 of GourmetRabbit.
I know it may sound kind of boring and pedestrian, but I was really looking forward to trying Aki’s version of Butter Chicken. When this dish is done well, it’s absolutely beautiful, and proves that Indian food doesn’t have to be spicy to be delicious. I was really impressed with Aki’s version, with the addition of dried fenugreek leaves, and wouldn’t hesitate to order it on every visit to Aki’s from now on.
We also decided to order the Patiala Goat Curry. Tender pieces of goat were slow-cooked with tomatoes, ginger, cardamom, garlic, mace and nutmeg. While this one was a little more spicy than I expected, I still enjoyed it, but the Butter Chicken was definitely our favourite of the curries. I’d also like to make mention of the delicious garlic naan and saffron rice that accompanied our mains.
Of course we had to have dessert! I always love ending an Indian meal with Kulfi – Indian ice cream laced with cardamom and pistachios. Kulfi isn't as creamy as your typical ice cream, but it's always a lovely refreshing treat. Our favourite was the warm pudding with an absolutely delicious ginger caramel. As full as we were, this one was demolished and we debated whether or not to lick the plate clean!
The food at Aki’s was every bit as delicious as I was expecting it to be, and I can’t wait to come back and try some of the other dishes on the menu like their signature dish Crab with Iddiappam or the delicious sounding Chocolate Naan, but I’ll never be able to pass up the Palak Patta Chat or Butter Chicken!
Spicyicecream dined as a guest of Aki’s
Aki's - 1/6 Cowper Wharf Rd, Wooloomooloo (02) 9332 4660