Live your Life. Do you live to eat or eat to live? This is the quinessential question that you must ask your self and introspect. If you live to eat, this blog is the place. As I proceed on a journey of gastronomical voyage across the various parts of India and other coutries, this blog details on reviews of good places to eat. Bon Appetite...!!!
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
All right this one is about Aki’s at Woolloomoolo. Now, many
years back, in one of my travels from Delhi to Sydney, I had heard one British
lady travelling to Australia and talking to a Malaysian lady and stating that
the best Indian restaurant in Sydney is one at Woolloomoolo called Aki’s. Talk
about a multicultural scenario. But as I heard Aki’s, I wondered, which one
this was. Being the food connoisseur, I was surprised that I hadn’t been aware
of this one. Now to me, there were two points. Either the British lady dint
know anything and that Aki’s was another cheap restaurant or that she didn’t know
about Zaffraan or Nilgiri’s, the ones which I thought were best.
Now I did look it up once and saw that it was in Woolloomoolo
and I had no clue and I gave up. Now many years later, a few dynamics changed.
I had become a food blogger and started reading reviews. I got the
entertainment book and saw this same restaurant in the fine dining section. As I looked up the map, I realized, I had been
to this part of the city a few years back with one of my friends. Of course
when I went last was a very memorable and blissful day, which was very special
because I went with one of my best friends. For those who know Sydney, after Circular
Quay, there is the Opera House and the Botanical garden. Right beyond the botanical
garden, there is the navy base with all the submarines. Right next to it is the
wharf with loads of restaurants. There is also the Blue, which to my surprise
was a Taj Hotel property.
Anyways, enough of
foreplay. Lets get to the real stuff. Now it’s a Saturday evening and I am
walking from St James and I call them and decide to make a reservation.
Apparently, even when I am asking for a reservation for an hour later, I am told
that they are fully booked out for an outside seating, They say that they can
try for indoors and ask me to come. So, to start with, please do make a
As I reach the restaurant, it’s a beautiful Saturday. Evening
7:30, the wharf is full of people as if
there is a party. We come into Aki’s and settle down our corner seat. The
interiors are descent. It has a silver designed wallpaper on the corner. The restaurant
is quite full. Very soon we are greeted and the menu is placed. The menu is not
too diverse. I like this. Unlike restaurants which offer everything and then
its so confusing to choose.
We order for the crab with iddiapam, the murg malai tikkas
and the namkeen squid for starters. It’s
a very difficult decisions. I usually go for two starters. Now in this case, I
really wanted to order the squid and crab, but there had to be chicken as well.
So at the end, I made it simpler, and ordered all three.
Crab with Iddiappam
In the main course, there is a lot of confusion and
difficult decisions to be made. The railway goat curry is already decided. The
decision is between the seafood rezalla or the chicken curry. We decide for the
Karaikudi Kozi Curry.
Well to begin with after ordering, we waited for some time
before the starters appeared. Now I had done my research and I was told that
the crab with iddiapam is the specialty. At the time of ordering IO had ordered
for an extra portion, as we were three people dining and the usual plate offers
two servings. As it came through I can definitely tell you that it looked
gorgeous and very different. After a very long time, I had the feeling that I
was having something new. It’s basically the signature dish here. Its basically
got portion of vermicelli which is also called as hoppers in Sri Lankan
cuisine. Now apparently if you go into any regular Sri Lankan restaurant, they
serve hoppers with a creamy sauce. The hoppers are like small net mesh, more
like a mat. On top of the hoppers were a mixture of blue swimmer crabs, cooked
with black mustard and tomatoes and turmeric. Now as I took a spoonful, the
taste is very mild. You top it with the
creamy little sauce and its yum. I mean its got a mix of mild tastes and creamy
tastes and with some Indian spices. I’d definitely recommend this dish. Quite different.
The next was the namkeen squids, which is basically the aki‘s
version of the salt and pepper squid. Its again not too spiced, but lovely
dish. Squids dusted with spiced flour, lightly pan fried and topped with ginger
strands. It is served with a sweet tamarind or imli chutney and a red chilli.
Now, this dish was my favorite among the starters. Very delicious. The fried
squid was not over cooked and so the squid was soft, and with the flour batter,
which was quite light and fluffy. The squids with the sweet chutney and the
ginger was a riot of taste. And finally when the red chilli which I thought was
for garnish, was the hidden revolutionary, cos it was so hot and re-energized
the taste buds.
The chicken malai tikkas were great. Relatively more spiced,
but not spicy. Very well marinated tender chicken morsel and grilled. Served
with a green chutney, which wasn’t too sweet. I loved chicken and l loved the
tikkas, although I would have thought the malai tikkas would have been with
cream and without the turmeric, if I were in India. But very good again. I cant
coplaina nd this was yum as well.
Chicken Malai Tikkas
Next coming to the main course, there was the koraikudi
kozhi curry. Now this was the dish of the evening. It came on a wooden board
with a small steel pan with the curry and a big semi spherical rice flour
pancake which is called as the appam. Man, this was the dish. Now I have had
various variants of the south Indian chicken but this dish hit the spot. It was
creamy, spicy and quite exotic to be honest.
It had the distinct flavor of a south indian cuisine with the curry
leaves and with cashew and poppy seeds, it gave a wonderful texture to the
curry. A beautiful dish and very highly recommended. Specially with the appam.
Moving next to the railway goat curry, it was well presented
in a thick brown curry topped with garnished coriander and ginger strands. Now the
curry was very very good again. Being a strict connoisseur of goat meat, I
usually look out for perfect cut goat, goat meat which is soft, tender, juicy
bones and well cut and cooked with the gravy. Now in this case of the dish, all
this seemed to match to be honest. Very beautifully cut portion of goat meat,
with a little bit of fat and really juicy meat. So all in all it did pass the
test. The only thing which was a bit minor is the smell. I mean I am from India
and I usually have goat meat there and usually I don’t like lamb because it is
more chewy and it has a smell to it. Now I know for the lamb lovers they might say
that it’s the fragrance of the lamb. Now in this case, the curry, meat
everything was great, but there was very slight smell, which did seems to
bother me just a little bit. But nonetheless, loved this dish as well. In fact
that night I could finish it and did a take away. Next morning, when I heated
it up, the aroma and the fragrance was intoxicating and out of the world. So
full marks from my side on the goat curry as well. The breads were fresh and
The service was spot on. It was quite busy but the service
was impeccable. The young guy attending to us turned out to be the son of the
master chef and the restaurant is his namesake- Aki. He was quite chatty and we
did discuss at depths about the Indian cuisine in Sydney and how there are so
All in all a great evening and a great place. Would I visit
again? Most definitely yes. Would I recommend? Very much. Price- Well it is on the pricier side,
considering its fine dining and with a great location. Average starter cost is about $20. Average
Main course is about $34 approx. So a meal for two can range from $ 80-140.