Masala Theory is newbie kid on the block in fusion Indian cuisine. I check it out with MW one Wednesday evening after work.I have to admit that I'm no expert when it comes to Indian food. I am not particularly familiar with the different regions and how their food differs in India. As I chat to the staff at Masala Theory, I am told that with many dishes that there is a fusion between Persian and Indian influences which stem from the owner's mother.
Masala Theory is an alcohol free menu although you can BYO if you are wanting some wine with your meal. On this particular night, I order the mango lassi which is full of mango flavours and has little nuts all throughout the drink.
MW orders India's most popular soft drink - the thums up which is a cola based drink.
We also share the Keema Pav ($14) which is a lamb mince with onion, tomatoes, mint and a garam masala. MW thinks it's an alright dish although I'm not sure the $14 is warranted.
The dhansak (top photo and above photo) of chicken, $25, is a traditional parsi dish of lentils and chicken with traditional parsi brown rice It combines the elements of Persian and Gujarati cuisine (Southern Indian cuisine). The curry broth is a very unfamiliar taste for MW and I. Again, this is where I have to plead my ignorance and lack of knowledge of Southern Indian cuisine and Persian food. Both MW and I sampled this dish but we did not enjoy this curry as much as the next main dish.
The next main is the Village Fish Curry ($25) is made from market fish, coconut broth, kafir lime and lemongrass. This is a mild curry with a smooth coconut flavour. The fish is flavoursome soaking up the coconut broth. This curry is quite nice with subtle flavours.
I think mainstream Indian cuisine in Sydney is typically really bold, chilli and intense in flavours whereas the curry in Masala Theory is more subtle, smooth and simple on the palette. The owner tells us that it's an education piece as patrons come in and try food that is unfamiliar to them. I'm definitely in that boat.
I'm a massive naan bread fan so I am eager to try the chilli cheese with coriander naan bread. The first bits of naan bread were more prominent with chilli and coriander although the last bit of naan bread had a lot of cheese. It was really nice to eat with the Village Fish Curry. I highly recommend ordering this bread.
For dessert we try the Chai Panna Cotta ($12) with nut praline and cinnamon glass. It's a really tasty chai panna cotta which is silky smooth with a lightly spiced chai flavour. I really like the nuts and the cinnamon sugary shard which adds a crunchy element to the dish.
There's also the Paan Kulfi ($10) is a creamy indian ice cream, flavoured with betal nut leaves. I taste a strong liquorice flavour in the icey ice cream kulfi. MW normally loves kulfi however him and I both dislike liquorice so this dessert isn't for us. If you like liquorice then this is for you.
Summary: For those who are curious and looking to try your non-mainstream Indian then check out Masala Theory.
If you are looking for more familiar Indian food then there's one or two dishes on the menu however this is not your typical Indian restaurant. For me, there were some dishes that I really liked (Masala Dosa) and some that were too unfamiliar but I was happy to try something different.
Price: Mains $22-27
Location: 545 Crown St, Surry Hills
Tues, Wed, Thur, Sunday 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm
Fri, Sat 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 10:30pm
Weekend Food Escapes dined as guests of Push Play Media. All words, opinions and photos are my own.