*Our experience at Trunk Road was organised by Instafoodieevent and as such could vary compared to a typical dining experience. However, the food we tasted was from Trunk Road’s current menu.
Hidden amongst the terraces that line Darlinghurst’s Crown Street lies Trunk Road. The restaurant aims to embody a small resting-house along the Grand Trunk Road, one of Asia’s oldest and longest roads.
This theme was very much present as soon as we walked in – minimal lighting and an intimate arrangement of tables for guests. A variety of small pictures and drawings adorned the walls of the space, depicting the types of people and places you would encounter on the Grand Trunk Road. As we were dining with a few dozen guests, we felt as if we were a merry travelling troupe stopping briefly to relax, recharge and enjoy the hospitality before setting off again on our adventure – or in this case eatventure.
Refreshments followed our arrival in the form of a gin and tonic with a twist. Instead of ice, a giant watermelon ice cube was used to cool the drink. As it melted, the watermelon flavour revealed itself which really complimented an otherwise generic gin and tonic. It added an element of sweetness which we found refreshing.
Our food was arranged nicely on small wooden tables for small groups to share. It was a great way for us to try almost everything on Trunk Road’s menu whilst sharing the experience with several other people from the event.
The dishes part of the event’s tasting.
Crispy spiced chickpeas
The chickpeas were a great appetiser. Light and crunchy with subtle spices, it made for a great bar snack. A few of us decided to pair it with a Kingfisher beer. The Kingfisher’s clean and refreshing taste complimented the snack well, resetting each mouthful as we ate.
Fried cauliflower salad
There is something seriously satisfying about fried food, with its crispy texture and unhealthy oily-ness that dares us to dive right in and binge. So when we noticed the cauliflower was fried, we jostled for a taste.
Whilst the charred taste was present and enjoyable as an element, the overall dish wasn’t impressionable – it simply didn’t have any stand-out flavours. Perhaps modelling the dish on Menazla zahra by adding some garlic or cumin could have elevated this dish.
Not fried chicken wings
Another great beer pairing opportunity presented itself in the form of chicken wings. The wings had a rich spice rub and were charred nicely. Both these elements lent a real smoky flavour to the dish. Some on our table found the wings too bitter from the dry rub, however, the Kingfisher worked really well to placate this.
The overall crowd favourite of the day! Despite being slathered in curry and cheese, the curry fries had a beautiful crunch on the outside and were fluffy on the inside. The dish was full of flavour as the creamy and fragrant curry melted the slightly sharp and salty cheese. We just couldn’t get enough of them!
We feel Trunk Road’s curry fries could be India’s answer to Canadian Poutine. It was a truly memorable dish.
Curry of the day
Trunk Road offers one curry on their menu at a time, but chef Tapos Singha maintains variety by changing the style on the daily. Our curry of the day was lamb masala with potatoes which was rich, creamy and comforting. Being slow cooked, the lamb was super tender, falling apart easily and we found the potatoes soft and buttery. It paired really nicely with the rice, however, some naan bread could also substitute.
World Famous ‘Roadies’
If you can imagine a curry burrito, you can imagine what Trunk Road’s Roadies are. Basically, they load a roti with some slow cooked and tender meat (they have a vegetarian option), fresh vegetables and a special sauce for you to roll up and enjoy with your hands. We tried two of their Roadies at the event: butter chicken and paneer.
The butter chicken roti was actually quite reminiscent of an Indian appropriated taco.
The chicken was both rich in bold flavours and colour as well as being tender and moist. Although the combo certainly reminded us of dipping naan bread into a vat of warm butter chicken, the real winner was the roti itself. Super light, buttery and certainly not too heavy, the roti elevated the dish and wasn’t overlooked as just a mere casing.
The paneer roti was nicely balanced between salty paneer and creamy masala. The eschalot and coriander added a more traditional Asian depth of flavour to the overall dish. There was a lot of flavour variety in this Roadie that we really enjoyed.
The roadies were really popular at the event as they were unanimously tasty, but we couldn’t help thinking that they weren’t practical. We had one of each roadie for our whole table, so we couldn’t enjoy them as intended: grabbed by the hands and demolished. We’re sure for the typical dining experience at Trunk Road, the roadies would be a great choice.
A traditional dessert enjoyed in countries such as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, Gulab Jamun is known to Westerners as the missing middle of a doughnut soaked in sugar water. It’s super sweet, sticky and has a soft texture. We found Trunk Road’s take very genuine and complimented the character of the restaurant. Although the dish probably won’t be as popular as lassi, it’s great to see more dessert variety being introduced to the area.
Our overall experience at Trunk Road was really enjoyable. We found the restaurant’s theme unique and portrayed to a point that helps bring the Grand Trunk Road to Darlinghurst. Whilst some of their dishes could improve, Trunk Road serves up a few signature dishes that bring a point of difference and relevance to the Darlinghurst food scene.
Written by Lachlan Munnings (@mister_eats)