CCU had taken quite a break, but it was all in preparation for a mega event considering her dear mother’s birthday was on the horizon. She wasn’t choosing the location, obviously that was her mum’s choice, but she knew she had to be prepared to get her swami on and sift through a couple dozen saris for the big occasion… after all, she knew her ma well enough to know that there would be some curries to be reviewing very soon…
Fine, ok, so maybe I lied a teeny bit when I said I sifted through my saris (considering if I would ever wear one, I would borrow mums!) but indeed, ma chose an Indian restaurant to celebrate her forty-….. oh right, sensitive topic, let’s move on shall we? ;)
I am not sure if many of you would remember my ma back from this post but if not, I would have your poor hands scrolling forever if I described her in words, so let me take advantage of some pictures which reflect her being :)
My mum LEGIT looks like the character of the witch from Tangled.
NO, don’t be mean of course not the old hag style one but the really pretty, high cheek-boned and slightly ringlet-ty young witch. And even though mum has no youth-sucking ability, she never seems to age :) And she is the most beautiful woman in the world to me :)
And yes she does have a flair for the dramatic like this witch so it all makes sense right? OH OH OH AND she is born on Halloween so the fact that she looks like a witch (Mum, don’t glare a pretty witch) seems quite reasonable ;)
Although when she gets angry… mum does turn a little bit into the old hag style…
JOKING GOSH MA STOP CHASING ME AROUND THE HOUSE WITH A ROLLING PIN! ANGER DOES MAKE PEOPLE’S HAIR GREY!!! AAAAAHHH…..
Sorry for showing you that little episode… moving on… ;)…. Most of the time though, mum is one of the most loving people I know. Always ready to do anything for anyone, even on her birthday! Honestly, my family has to persuade her not to cook for us on her own birthday. I prove my statement :)
Yes, I am not a blonde pretty girl with the most beautiful hair in the world but this is how I feel when I am around my mum :D… Special :)
Oh, and this too….
OMG STOP THROWING CHUNKS OF OLD CURRY AT ME!
But I digress… severly… so shall we move on to one very delicious Indian (restaurant) meal I have had in a while? After all, for her birthday mummy does deserve nothing but the best :D
Ma chose to go to quite a local Indian restaurant, just a quick 15 minute drive from our place. It is located in a small plaza area and is quite a large restaurant, though with the number of others eating there, it can be easily said that they are most popular for takeaway.
On walking in, you are basically engulfed in the culture, in our culture. It is a rich vibrant red and gold atmosphere, with paintings of Indian customs and traditions from the bygone years mixed with a TV playing the latest Bollywood booty-shaking it has to offer.
The music is first soft and simple though it gradually increases in volume throughout the meal which was a little downer, especially because it was coupled with a poor baby whose main goal of the evening to cry its little head off…
The seating, located both outside and in was very spacious I thought, though for our table, the poor waiter had to pass along dishes and plates because we were wedged near a wall!
There were pristine clean glasses, beautifully presented napkins and a very classy feel about the tables that beckoned you to it and said ‘get ready to eat!’
As soon as we sat down, menus were promptly delivered, though they only gave us four even though there were six of us that I found a little strange. However, the menus themselves were quite cool in that they told the beautiful, romantic history of the Taj Mahal, for which this place is dedicated to.
While we were ordering, fresh chilled water and brought out, wine glasses were taken and complimentary crispy papadums (a thin, crunchy fried mix of ground lentils, potato or rice), equivalent to a giant version of a Western cracker, with minty chutney was served. It was quite delicious, especially the chutney which added a hint of sweetness to the slight bitterness of the papadum.
We ordered, all good, though with the amount of dishes we did, it probably would have been quite confusing! But I was surprised at how quickly the entrees came out. And how the drinks followed as opposed to the common other way around. Oh well :)
Regarding drinks, my brother and I stuck to wholesome water, but my mum and grandparents ordered a Mango Lassi, a traditional yoghurt drink of India, which was not overly sweet and had a touch of sour aftertaste with a strong hit of mango, making it quite tasty. I also liked the addition of ice cubes and a sprinkling of crushed pistachios on top :
Dad had a Coke… it was awesome because well… it was coke :D
The first entrees to come out were the vegetarian ones. So firstly, a nice big plate of Chaat which was beautifully presented, and a great proportion of yoghurt, sauce, fried paapri, chickpeas and potato. It was actually very addictive!
The samosas were a must get and they were large, tall and proud with a thick and crispy shell with a soft mass of spicy potato inside. Served on a bed of shredded onion with some sweet chutney, it was quite a winner!
We also ordered some spinach and onion pakoras, which albeit a little over oily, were crunchy on the outside, looked delicious and had a soft and flavoursome interior! Teamed with mint chutney it was more than incredible!
My brother and daddy now turned to the sizzling, steaming heat dishes. I found it quite weird that we had to ask for lemon wedges and more chutney, considering they are a staple with the entrees but little mistakes can happen.
Firstly, there was an incredible chicken tikka, which from the looks on my bro and daddy’s face, was tender beyond belief and flavoured to perfection! It looked quite tempting too, and as a vegetarian, it is hard for me to say that ;)
Now you would think we would go light on the main meal following such an extensive entrée. Please. That is just not how my family works. Bring on the mains mes cheris!
Now with 6 people in our family, we order a LOT of different sabzis *curries* and naans to appease everyone. I am most certainly not complaining :D
First to come out was the raita (a yoghurt with cucumber and seasoning) and a mixed spiced salad. Should you ever go out to an Indian restaurant, a dip or two into these gorgeous sides adds a huge refreshing flavour burst. But then again, it depends on how skilled you are at fitting all the curries into your one piece of naan ;)
Speaking of naan, we ordered four different types. Don’t judge us, we have different tastes :)
My daddy and baba (grandfather) they went for the buttered naan – butter layered throughout the rich naan bread, it is one of the better menu options for sure :D
My brother, he is quite the traditional man, so he went for Plain Naan ($2.50). Yes, they call it ‘plain naan’. ;)
Mumma (grandmother) decided to go for the garlic naan, so I am guessing somewhere deep in her blood, she comes from an Italian background. I really want Italian blood in our family ;)
Me, I went for the herbed naan because as you all know, I am obsessed with herb seasoning. Oh and if you didn’t know, you do now ;)
My mother, the birthday woman girl (really have my foot in my mouth today ay ma?) was all ‘naan is sooooo mainstream like…. I want an onion kulcha’ but in a more sophisticated manner ;)
After a solid break in which our stomachs were under the illusion they were empty again, came the sabzis (curries)! You wouldn’t believe it but we ordered them all spicy and yet ate them comfortably. I think a bit more of a kick was needed if we asked for spicy but to each his/her own palate!
First up we ordered the black daal. Perfect, creamy and delicious black daal (lentils) that I am about to eat for breakfast today stuffed in a naan. A classic and delicious daal dish and I am not even a fan of daal at home ;)
We have a penchant for paneer at our place so out came a paneer curry filled with capsicum, creamy sauce and bursting with flavour. I absolutely loved the gravy on this one, it was fingerlicking worthy!
On my request, we also went for a mixed vegetable curry, which was a staple if you ask me! The vegetables were roasted perfectly, and the gravy was less than imagined which was actually a good thing considering it would take away from the emphasis being on the vegetables!
And here is my plate of the goodies :)
A very delicious delicious delicious meal indeed! Flavoursome, filling and decadent, we actually had no room for dessert would you believe it?
But do not be too harsh on us, because look at this decadent ice cream cake we ordered on Halloween to cut for mummy’s birthday singing :) – yes it is from Baskin Robbins, and no I will not be reviewing this ice cream haven until I have more photos ;)
So now let’s get the down-low shall we?
- Friendly service and efficient (though they were not the busiest I will admit)
- Clean plates were given between courses which was quite professional
- They had Indian…. Um…. Well, sweetened fennel seeds basically to eat on the way out after paying – it helps digestion and brings a fresh feel to your mouth, provided it does not get stuck in your teeth ;)
- A Slight Flaw: Yes, we ordered a lot and wanted to take the leftovers home. Our waitress comes to our table with the some boxes and a bag and leaves them! At first I was a bit affronted but later, found out that they do this because there are customers who prefer to do it themselves so meat hands don’t touch vegetarian dishes etc. – however, I still believe they should be given a choice, something to improve on :)
Booking: Not necessary though for large groups recommended
Rating: 7.5/10 – truly brought down by lack of professionalism but otherwise, the food was pretty excellent – work on a few things and it could be brought to a 9 easily!
Address & Contact Details:
- 12 / 3-9 Terminus Street
Castle Hill, Sydney
Phone Number: 9894 5830
Yes, this post is not over yet because, of course besides her incredible ice cream cake, I had to make a birthday cake for my sweetie ma :D
I was actually meant to make it on her birthday and thus, the ice cream cake would never have come but school was just too much pressure on the day so mum graciously stuffed herself with cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream and waited for the day after :D
Thanks for understanding (another thing mum does incredibly well!)
This year, when I asked her what cake she wanted, she said she didn’t. Perplexed? I was too… so I sifted through many of my recipes and then came across something bursting with summery flavour and lacking in chocolate. Definitely made for my mum!
I adapted it, made it and when mum ate it, she smiled really hard. Which made me smile really hard. And then everyone just kept on smiling really hard. So I think it was a success :D
This bread is moist beyond belief. It is soft, dense and when you get a cranberry or mango (which is in every bite), it just makes you grin :D
So Happy Birthday Ma! Hope, know, you had a great one because you deserve nothing less and only better :D
Cranberry Coconut Mango Bread
Adapted From: Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
- 2 cups diced mango
- 3 eggs
- 170g butter, melted (browned would taste incredible too) and lukewarm (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla OR coconut essence
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 ¼ cups Self raising flour (SRF)
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup desiccated coconut
- Grated zest of one orange
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup cranberries (dried)
- ½ cup chopped mixed nuts (optional, I left them out)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a baking loaf tin (9×5 inch) with baking paper. Place tin on a baking tray to keep the bottom from overbrowning
- Whisk together the eggs, butter and essence
- In a large bowl, sift together the SRF, whole wheat flour, sugars, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices and zest
- Stir liquid ingredients into dry and mix until a few traces of flour remain (it will be a very thick batter)
- Add in the diced mango, cranberries and nuts (if using) and mix through until just combined
- Scrape batter into prepared loaf tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with gooey crumbs (I made half the recipe and it took 40 minutes) – if bread is overbrowning, place a brown paper bag over the top and continue baking
- Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15-20 minutes before unmolding
- Allow to cool completely before cutting, serving and grinning :D