... a dreamer, freelance writer, naturopath, mother & former social work student based in the Blue Mountains. Continue the journey with me- Soul Home: https://www.instagram.com/the_soul_home/thewildemoon: https://www.instagram.com/thewildemoon/
Published July 2nd 2019
Exciting new cuisine, 'progressive Indian' arrives in Sydney
My mouth crunches through a rainbow of flavours and textures – the crispy kale (who would have thought?) and spicy fried potato overlaid with yoghurt and topped with chilli pearls and flower petals.
It's something called a 'Creative Chaat' – a tasty morsel I've never heard of before, and a hint – the French restaurant manager who seated us is another – that Punjabi Fusion isn't your average Indian restaurant.
Debuting in a dining scene flooded with cuisines, 'progressive Indian' food, as it's been dubbed, offers something refreshingly new and exciting.
Combining the flamboyance of Bollywood and ancient Indian recipes with magic tricks and molecular gastronomy, Australia's newest cuisine is a culinary astravaganza bringing the flavours of India into the future.
Indian food is traditionally associated with comfort food and large portions, Punjabi Fusion's restaurant manager tells me. "Unlike Italian, French, Japanese and other cuisines it's never really been elevated."
The first progressive Indian restaurant to hit Down Under, Punjabi Fusion is the Aussie equivalent of the cuisine style made world-famous by chef Gaggan Anand in the Bangkok eaterie that bears his name.
In 2018, Gaggan topped Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list and reaped fifth place in The World's 50 Best Restaurants. Tellingly, it's the only Indian restaurant ever to rate the top fifty.
Now Australian's can sample their own version of Gaggan.
A fusion of modern Australian and other cuisines with traditional Indian food, each dish arrives like a show, inciting me to rate it in terms of presentation, flavour, originality and novelty.
The show includes highly artistic plates and garnishes, and special effects. There's even a levitating plate!
The patrons tonight – loyal regulars – study the ingredients and images of each dish on touch screen iPad tablets, the paperless menus another innovative touch. I'm informed paper menus are also available for the more traditional diner.
But the real star of the show is the food itself, in particular, its focus on flavour, presentation, quality ingredients and revamped, less-known traditional recipes.
Owner Uma Singh (who opened the Millers Point restaurant with husband Kamaldeep Singh in March 2019) reveals her goal was to create the authentic original flavours of India. The restaurant uses fresh ingredients and more laborious processes that bring out the flavour of the food. For example, rather than using quick to prepare manufactured sauces and purees, they will slowly stew ingredients like fresh tomatoes and blend cashew nuts. Reflecting the seasons, the menu changes with the availability of ingredients.
Punjabi Fusion's Executive Chef, Vijay Prakash, previously worked for 5-star JW Marriott Hotel group, where he cooked over 18 different cuisines, a role contributing to his ability to blend flavours and foods from all over the world into a new definition of Indian food.
Take a seat and be entertained – by the food. Fine dining at its best.
With this many options, there's something for every occasion.
Choose from the a la carte menu Check out the a la carte menu here. The restaurant includes a good mix of vegetarian and meat options. While the images included in this review are of vegetarian meals, Punjabi Fusion includes meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes.
Take a degustation. The Chef Degustation menu allows you to choose between 3, 5, 7 or 11 courses all designed to take you on a journey to different regions of India. You can select either a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian degustation.
Takeaway lunch options (Monday to Friday, 11.30am-2.30pm) are available and start at $15. They include appetisers like the malai broccoli florets, Indian-themed burgers (served with house salad and masala chips), pizzas (served with mint relish and lemon cream), and traditional faves like biryani, curries and naan.
The Punjabi Fusion Bento Box costs $29. Look what's inside and choose from the options here.
Compliment your meal with a drink from the bar. Enjoy a signature cocktail, bottled beer, wine or spirit. You can explore the bar menu online here.
Corporate catering, function and party packages are also available.
The bar at Punjabi Fusion. Enjoy a drink while you're here.
One of the sensationally delicious Indian-style bruschettas on offer. This was one of my favourite dishes. I chose the vegetarian Pao Bhaji (a mix of vegetables and Pao Bhaji masala) with Lemon Coriander Relish, served on a toasted garlic butter baguette.
Brushetta of Pao Bhaji with Lemon Coriander Relish
The drained Yogurt Beetroot Croquette is roasted beetroot mash and capsicum masala piped into a thin sponge sheet and crispy fried and decorated with beetroot sauce. So pretty, and tasty. It reminded me of a gourmet Indian style toastie.
This Orange, Basil & White Wine Sorbet was served mid-session as a refreshing palate cleanser. The delicate honeyed orange flavour was my favourite part of the meal. Combined with the fresh orange slices this felt like a welcome health tonic.
Star of the show. The delightful Cherry Paan Floss arrives like something out of Harry Potter on a spinning, levitating plate. But the real fun starts when you bite into this rosy ball of homemade cotton candy to discover the sweet treat of crunchy spiciness hidden within including dried fruits, fennel seeds and dried betel leaves flavoured with paan essence. Yum!
Cherry floss served on a levitating plate!! Simply magical.
A unique dessert. Tasty Beetroot & Carrot Pudding flavoured with green cardamon and accompanied with a Vanilla Scoop, naan chip and pistachio, almond and rose petal garnish. According to Uma Singh, this is based on an ancient carrot pudding recipe common in India. The beetroot is added for sweetness.
The closing scene. The apple ginger blossom is offered with a candied ginger chip as a digestive aid. When you infuse the little bag of herbs, smoke pours magically from the glass. Miraculously, though pleasantly full, I'm not bloated after the 11 courses, something I attribute to the clever pacing and arrangement of the dishes, their overall lightness, and the presence of so many herbs and spices, such as ginger, cardamom and fennel, known to aid digestion. Simply wonderful!
Punjabi Fusion is on street level in Kent Street in Millers Point in the inner city of Sydney, adjacent to The Rocks. You can get there by bus or take a train. It's about a ten-minute walk from Circular Quay rail station. There is also (metered) street parking nearby. I drove and found cheap metered parking on a Thursday night just five minutes walk from the restaurant. There are also several parking stations in the area.
Shop 6&7 Kent Street,
Millers Point NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9241 1440
One final food pic. Seafood dish enjoyed by my husband.