The Colonial’s third staging post for adventurous curry connoisseurs’ journeys to the mountainous regions of northwest India and Pakistan (The Colonial also maintains outposts in Leichardt and Darlinghurst) finds itself along Grosvenor Street in Neutral Bay, not far from Military Road. The mandate is much the same, with this Sydney Indian restaurant reviving traditional recipes drawn from the era when British India was undivided, in particular the simply prepared but incredibly flavourful and complex dishes typical to the Khyber region. It’s the kind of regional cuisine that many of the best curry houses in the UK offer diners, and Sydney is lucky to have three such representatives in its midst.
All three of The Colonial’s Indian restaurants are stylishly appointed, streamlining the decor away from the clutter of curios that so many Indian establishments find obligatory. This makes sense, as The Colonial doesn’t offer a typical menu, and The Colonial’s Neutral Bay outlet is no exception. Take a seat at the restaurant’s well-stocked bar down Grosvenor Street, and plan your next move. The menu is packed with an incredible array of traditional northern Indian and Pakistani dishes, making heavy use of slowly marinated ingredients, often slowly cooked in the tandoori clay oven, just as one would encounter if travelling in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, whose capital Peshawar is particularly famous for its food.
Every meal at The Colonial should be accompanied by oven-fresh naan. There’s plenty on offer, from your usual plain, buttered, and garlic naans, to mouthwatering stuffed breads like the paneer kulcha, and the layered lacha paratha. You can make a meal out of The Colonial’s biryani, but one should at least order up some fragrant pulao rice to mop up the delicious mains to come. Some of Sydney’s best butter chicken can be had at The Colonial Neutral Bay, down Grosvenor Street, but it’s less usual classics like the chicken chettinad (boneless chicken cooked with curry leaves, coconut cream, mustard, spices and chilli) and the kadhai chicken (boneless chicken cooked in a wok with capsicum, grape tomatoes, spanish onion and fresh coriander) that will get connoisseurs excited. Bigger groups are advised to try out the generous platters of small-plate or tapas-style creations to really map out what makes this Sydney Indian restaurant so special.