I always love visiting Chaiwala. I think I’ve been a half dozen times since it first opened (to the restaurant and its sister bar, Hugger Mugger, which has an excellent happy hour, by the way). This modern Indian restaurant is so colourful and vibrant. The lighting is dark and it can get a bit loud, but that just adds to the buzz of the place.
Recently I had a chance to revisit and sample some of Chaiwala’s new dishes.
To start, we tried the paneer tikka skewers ($180) and the masala beef balls ($150).
The paneer was firm yet tender and covered lightly in spices and a sweet-and-sour mango chutney glaze.
The beef balls were sweet and had quite the spicy kick! I particularly liked their soft, tender texture.
For our main, we were served the new vegan kofta curry ($150) along with sides of chote mote aloo anardana ($55), Kashimiri muttie mutter pulao ($65) and mint paratha ($55). Now, I think veg and vegan options are really stepping up their game in this city. Normally I’d never go for a vegetarian choice if there’s meat available, but this tomato- and coconut-based curry was seriously good. The kofta is a carby meatball though – like a crisp dough ball with a kale and tofu filling – so I think either rice or paratha would do on the side (there’s no need for both). But definitely get the potatoes (aloo) because they are wonderful – the perfect tender texture with an addictive cumin-accented tomato sauce with pomegranate and a hint of lemon.
Chaiwala continues to serve up delicious Indian dishes – give these new ones a try on your next visit. We went as a group of two, so unfortunately we didn’t get to try either of the two new rib dishes (Indochina pork ribs and tandoori beef ribs). Let us know how they are if you do try them!
Basement, 43–55 Wyndham Street (enter via Hugger Mugger), Central, 2362 8988, book online
For more reviews like this, like Foodie on Facebook