Special thanks to Push Play Media for the invite!
A recent addition to the Surry Hills food scene, Masala Theory is a fantastic Indian eatery with flair and flavour.
As we stepped in, we immediately noticed how vibrant the space was. Each wall was decorated with murals or objects of Indian origin which captivated our attention throughout the evening.
The team at Masala Theory have crafted a menu which balances new age with tradition. The results spoke for themselves throughout the banquet for two we ordered.
We were immediately intrigued with the mango lassi as we hadn’t tried one with cardamom before. The spice was definitely prominent in the drinks taste which I found refreshing alongside its tropical flavour from the mango. The yoghurt was a great way to reduce any unwanted heat from our food.
I can see the chai tea becoming a very popular choice during winter. It comes in two varieties – a more traditional Indian version and an Australian version. The Australian version is kind of like a cross between an English breakfast and a chai tea. The Indian version has extra spices such as ginger to give it a bit more depth. Both are good with a little added sugar.
An interesting dish from Masala Theory is the Keema Pav – a lamb slider. The concept seemed pretty un-Indian, however it worked fairly well. The brioche was soft and milky and the lamb patty had some Indian spices that pegged it to India despite its western style.
Next up was the Prawntini bhel, a crunchy affair complete with a battered prawn, crispy puffed rice and a fried bhel leaf. The dish was topped with a dollop of spicy tomato-based paste. What I liked about this dish was how each element was crisp and crunchy.
Masala Theory’s chicken tikka had a noticeably smokey flavour with some touches of charring. It came with three different sauces that all complimented the chicken in their own unique way. The corn sauce added a touch of creamy sweetness; the mint purée lent some herbal zing; and the pepper sauce gave some extra seasoning. I found myself returning to the corn sauce the most.
We then tried a small, bite-sized morsel of chaat yoghurt chutney. It was bursting with flavour! I really liked the contrast between the creamy yoghurt and lentil paste with the crunchy cracker. It also had a bit of a spicy finish from the chutney.
Our mains were 4 different curries that provided a wide variety of exciting flavours.
The first curry we tried was the butter chicken. It was unlike any other butter chicken I’ve tried! The curry had a slight kick and was deliciously creamy. I found the chicken tender from its slow cook which was further lifted by some nutty and smokey flavours. This was arguably the best butter chicken I’ve eaten to date!
Highly fragrant, Masala Theory’s fish curry sang lemongrass and coconut. These were certainly the dominate flavours in this curry, which paired beautifully with the salty freshness of the fish.
I found the Dhansak curry was overshadowed by the other curries, so I tended to avoid it a little. However, the chicken was cooked with care – it fell apart as we dug in, and I noticed a nice contrast between the soft lentil and crunchy onion.
Masala Theory’s Salli boti was incredible. The slow-cooked goat was seasoned with herbs and spices that transformed a more curious protein into a delicacy. The fried potato lent some crunchiness to each mouthful. I also loved the hit of chilli in the finish.
We then shared a Kulfi for dessert. Kulfi is a traditional Indian ice cream, and Masala Theory’s take was a total palate cleanser. I could taste some herbal and nutty flavours alongside the smooth ice cream. Overall it was a refreshing way to end our meal.
Masala Theory’s modern-yet-traditional approach to their food has created some fantastic dishes. Definitely worth a visit for that butter chicken or goat curry!
Written by Lachlan Munnings (@mister_eats)