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New Wave Indian Hits Sydney’s Crown Street

March 11, 2017 Dining No Comments Email Email
Masala Theory is a place of Indian story telling through food and culture, handed down through generations and translating that onto a plate, while steeped in a deep respect to the parents of restaurant founder Yashpal Erda, his heritage, and his love for his adopted country of Australia.

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Erda is the founder of the most exciting food destination in Sydney, heralding a new way to eat and enjoy Indian food with his new restaurant on Crown Street, in Surry Hills.

Opening its beautifully designed doors to an always hungrily discerning Sydney foodie crowd merely a month ago, he has been booked solid, and the new wave of Indian fare shows why.

Fronted in the kitchen by a star head chef and staff who are trained in traditional Indian food, the plentiful but succinct menu pays homage to Erda’s Indian Parsi heritage (33 year old Erda was raised in Ahmedabad, India), insisting a contemporary twist comes through in the wildly enticing Indian flavours as well as the presentation of each and every dish which is served from the venue filled to the brim with cheeky Indian motifs: from Indian street signs, to breathtakingly colourful wall murals.

“There is much more to Indian food than butter chicken or lamb rogan josh or vindaloo. I was not really blown away with Indian restaurants here in Australia; they’re great and the food is good, but it doesn’t quite get there with giving the diner the whole experience,” says Erda. “Masala Theory is the modern Indian of ‘now’ – very hipster, very whimsical; modern, young, bold, yet subtle,” he adds.

“People come here for an experience; from eating a fresh new take on Indian food, to taking selfies with our elevated pink neon bike, as well as ‘the three sisters’, and ‘the broccoli man’”, says Erda, referring to the colourful painted characters which adorn each wall at Masala Theory.

While the bright surroundings beckon, it’s the superlative food which has Sydney talking.

Masala Theory’s food is proudly traditional Indian food, presented in a contemporary way. And the food here is inspired by a combination of the regions of India where I grew up, where my mother and father were born, old traditional recipes from my head chef’s and manager’s background, all of that,” adds Erda.

Working for over a year on this food-from-the-heart project, he decided on the name ‘Masala Theory’ because he knew it was a “catchy, unique name.”

“My mum and dad are always my inspiration. And I take these ethics and values they’ve passed on to my sister and I into my business, translating their wishes into the foundation of my restaurant.”

With vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free options on the menu, each dish is a true social media snapper’s delight, both in colour and presentation: beetroot poriyal, paneer-stuffed dal chilla (split green lentil crepes with Indian cottage cheese, spinach, onion, raisins, cashews, tomato chutney), eggplant bharta, a traditional but non-neon butter chicken, kheema pav sliders (minced lamb), and a hero dish: three sisters chat (crispy-fried English spinach, garbanzo beans, black chickpeas, sweetened yoghurt, date-tamarind chutney, mint chutney) which is a nod to the Aussie ‘Three Sisters’ in the Blue Mountains. The dessert menu is brief but punchy. Standout: chai panna cotta and paan kulfi. The drinks menu is a stand alone star, too: the lavender lassi and bubblegum lassi are moreish, and the green-hued aam panna is a thirst quencher made from raw mangoes.

Two dinner sittings are now in place because enthusiastic patrons get snap happy with the building’s walls (dating back to the 1800s). The space was designed by Danny Broe, with Alice Pamment as interior designer, with additional building works by Christian Gladdish from Conan Projects, and all creative executed by The Republic, based in India, and the new Sydney eating haunt is now as much the talk of the town for its food as it is for its surrounds – the full experience Erda was aiming for.

Masala Theory is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Thursday 12pm -3pm and 6pm to 10pm for dinner and open 12pm – 3pm, and 6pm – 10.30pm Friday to Saturday.

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