Most will know Malabar as Sydney’s southeastern coastal suburb, but when it comes to good eating, Malabar should evoke the fragrant, seafood-rich cuisine that hails from the long, beautiful southwestern Indian coast – Goa, Kerala, South India. At the Darlinghurst outpost of Malabar, on the corner of Victoria and Craigend Streets, the head chef brings together fresh, hand-picked produce, carefully blended spices, and expert kitchen technique to take diners on a journey down India’s most famous spice trail.
For over two decades, Malabar’s head chef Mohammed Sali has honed his skills cooking exquisite Indian cuisine in renowned kitchens around the world. Fearlessly inventive, but with a strong foundation in the ancient culinary traditions of the Asian subcontinent, Sali brings Sydney’s fans of South Indian food a new approach to this sought after cuisine. Armed with good local knowledge when it comes to sourcing the best, freshest produce, and a commitment to the Ayurvedic culinary philosophy, Sali uses new techniques and ingredients to bring contemporary interpretations of classic dishes to his popular restaurant on the corner of Darlinghurst’s Victoria Street and Craigend Street.
Pepper, cardamom, ginger, curry leaves, vanilla – these are just some of the typical spices and herbs that find their way into Malabar Darlinghurst’s superb takes on traditional Keralan and South Indian dishes. Head chef Sali’s specials include the kongu naadu kozhi – spicy, peppery, slow-cooked chicken marinated with lentils, onion and turmeric – and nilgiri chicken khurumah – a Tamil Nadu delicacy of mint and coriander infused chicken prepared with fragrant saunf, cardamom, chilli, ginger and cashews. This last is only available at Malabar’s darlinghurst restaurant at the intersection of Craigend and Victoria Streets. For those in North Sydney, you too can gain easy access to Malabar’s South Indian taste sensations at their Crows Nest restaurant.