Thursday, February 14, 2013


All right. This one is about Nilgiri's at St. Leonards, Sydney.
I have been in Sydney for about four years. Initially being the quitessential Delhi-ite and tandoori lover, I used to crave for good Indian food places. Part of the craving was because I didnt know how to cook as well.
I went out to lot of eateries in Sydney, dishing out Indian food, but in short almost all o f them were pathetic. Dishing out over coloured over spiced food to people who have no clue about what Indian food is or to people with no tastes. That was until I came about Nilgiri.
For many years I have been the ambassdor for Nilgiri's,  staunch promoter. Simply because it is one of those few places where they justice to the food they cook. Nilgiri is fine dining, and has won numerous awards over the years. Chef Ajoy, who runs the show has a fantastic team and also runs cookery classes over the weekend.
As you step off the station at St leonards and walk towards the Pacific highway, take a left into the connecting street with coles and BWS, onto Christie Street next to Gilroys.
As you enter, theres a counter. The ground floor is more like a takeaway or sit in for a quick cheap eat. Theres a refrigerators pined with takeaway boxes, spices, books, all produced by Nilgiri. The ground floor serves cheap meals such as the vegetarian thali, non vegetarian thali, dosa and the biryani. The dosa is perfect- crispy, with chutney and sambhar. One of the best I have had. The biryani- chicken southern style is the speciality. The biryani on Nilgiri is the trademark and speciality.
Now the other unique thing is that NIlgiri changes its menu every month, to focus on different areas of India. A recognition of the diversity and a challenge to be not stereotyped. Sometimes Awadh, Eastern India, southern style.
Decor is awesome and yes it is stereotyped, but presents a classy look. Bronze statues of Ganesha, focus lights, light music, a good places to come with family friends or with that someone special with a bottle of wine.
As you climb to the first floor which is the restaurant, you'll see the restaurant with a part of the open kitchen. There are private rooms for big groups as well.
Coming to the food. In the restaurant, I find their starters amazing. The prawn varieties or the bhuna goshth or the lamb is great. The seekh kebabs are nothing to rave about. The chicken tikkas and the tandooti chicken are recommended. The starters are usually my fancy. On a few occasions I have had to send the butter chicken back to the kitchen because it was too sweet.
The curries to be honest are about OK but not my favourite. many years back I had found the butter chicken not upto my taste. But the chicken homestyle is amazing. One late night with a friend, cold sydney winter, a few drinks to keep us high and then a takeaway of chicken homestyle and rotis. We were a bit tipsy and ended up having the currry and roti in the night in a park at 11 in the night. The curry was just like we had at.home, thin hot andmspicy with coriander. Other occasions I have had mango cjicken which initially I sneered but it was actually a bit sweet but really tasty. Chicken nizam curry, again not too appealing at the first look, but really nice. Creamy consistency and light brown in colour. Loved it. Like I said, the curries are nothing to rave about but once in a while there are nice preparations.
The Biryani is great. Simply great. At the risk of sounding redundant, it is the best in Sydney. If you go ther restaurant below, they sometimes serve you a different variant which is called the southern style but is basically flavoured rice topped with a thick curry with chicken. THis is not so good. So always ask them for the biryani which is served in the restaurant above.

The deserts are a must have. The kulfi they serve is simply great. On one occasion I was with a friend and we finished dinner and I being the foodie wanted to make it the perfect meal by finishing it with sweet Gulab Jamun. They informed it was not there, but when chef Ajoy heard, he got it from the restaurant above and complimentary. Much appreciated. A very genuine and humble man, Chef Ajoy despite a celebrity chef.
The last bit is the sunday buffet. Again, each weekend a different part of India but my repeated visits have made me realise that the main menu is more or less similar with a few variants. The buffet is simply great and highly recommended. The starters include dosa, bonda, chat, dahi bhalla and a version of chicken tawa tikka. The fish or prawn starters are served on the table and amazing. Multiple chutneys, poppadums, breads and then main course dishes. Main course dishes usually include a chicken dish, one lamb followed by multiple veggies dishes.
As I said, one of the best Indian restaurants, good quality of food. I do come here every now and then, occasions or no occasion. The dosa, biryani, starters, deserts are unparallelled.
A meal for two in the ground floor AUD 25-40.
A meal for two in the first floor restaurant AUD 50- 100.

BYO Corkage AUD 6.
Caution: closes at 10 for sure.. Be there by 9 at least.
81, Christie Street, St. Leonards

Nilgiri's on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Good one PK! I must admit, your writings have made me nostalgic! ahhh... great days!

    Can vouch for this place, great food.