Masala Theory is an exciting new food destination on Crown Street (Surry Hills) heralding a new way to eat and enjoy Indian food. Opening its beautifully designed doors to Sydney’s hungry foodie crowd just a couple of months ago, Masala Theory is a place of Indian storytelling through food and culture.
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 restaurant founder Yashpal Erda’s Indian Parsi heritage. A contemporary twist comes through in the wildly enticing Indian flavours and the presentation of each and every dish. The venue itself is filled to the brim with cheeky Indian motifs: from Indian street signs, to breathtakingly colourful wall murals.
We recently ventured out to the bright new venue to sample some of the menu’s modern Indian offerings. We kicked things off with the Beetroot Poriyal – a small starter dish consisting of beetroot, mustard seeds, chillies, lentils, and coconut – before getting into the share dishes. With vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free options, there is something here for everyone.
There’s paneer-stuffed dal chilla (split green lentil crepes with Indian cottage cheese, spinach, onion, raisins, cashews, tomato chutney), masala dosa (rice and lentil pancakes stuffed with spiced potatoes, served with lentil broth & coconut chutney), galouti chicken and wava pav sliders, and three sisters chat (crispy-fried English spinach, garbanzo beans, black chickpeas, sweetened yoghurt, date-tamarind chutney, mint chutney) – a nod to the Aussie ‘Three Sisters’ in the Blue Mountains. But the stand-out on the share menu had to be the Prawntini – crispy fried prawns, puffed rice, vermicelli, tomatoes, onions, and chutney. It was crispy, it was hot, and it was delicious.
For something more substantial, there are a number of options too. There’s butter chicken, salli botti, vegetarian balti, and lasooni tadka dal. We opted for the Patra Ni Machchi (a Parsi speciality of steamed fish coated in coconut-mint-coriander chutney, wrapped in banana leaf, and served with red radish, snow pea-sprout salad) and the Eggplant Bharta (smoked eggplant mashed with onion, tomatoes, chillies and spices). Both were faultless and highly satisfying.
If that’s not enough, there are a number of accompaniments such as rice, Indian breads, and sides to fill you right up while the drinks menu features thirst quenchers such as the green-hued aam panna made from raw mangoes, the lavender lassi and bubblegum lassi. And if you have room for dessert, we’d highly recommend the Chai Panna Cotta with nut praline and cinnamon glass – simply delectable.
When you’re next seeking out some traditional Indian food presented in a contemporary way, then Masala Theory is your place. Masala Theory is open Tuesday to Thursday (Lunch: 12-3pm | Dinner: 6-10pm) and Friday to Saturday (Lunch: 12-3pm | Dinner: 6-10.30pm). The venue is licensed and BYO.
545 Crown St, Surry Hills
Bookings: (02) 9699 9444