Since opening last year, this restaurant on Stanley St has been the topic of discussion. It’s no Chinese whisper and throw away everything you thought you knew about Indian food. I don’t know if you would called the space eclectic or a whole in the wall – a room with exposed brick that surrounds two magnificent murals of Indian holy men on the walls and a red neon glow of the Brick Lane sign out front. Delhi meets Darlo
I was a bit early to met up with the founders, Kran Bains and Alistair French to ask a few questions. The food was a much lighter take on what I was used to, however great for those who were reserved in trying Indian for the first time because it ‘might’ be too spicy. Don’t worry, they had this fantastic homemade sambal, that packed a punch!
The menu served was a variety of things, from a tuna con, duck & quail samosas (remember this), scallop & kingfish ceviche (which I was like… ceviche is not Indian, but I got it in the end), coconut curry king prawns, a fall-off-the-bone lamb shoulder and tuna steak.
There is an art to all the dishes prepared and this is what Kiran had to say.
Hailing from the UK, where does the Indian food come into fruition? – Who’s Indian?
The concept of Brick Lane is based on the famous street in London known for its curry houses (Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakastani). But Brick Lane in Sydney isn’t so much about re-creating this classic style of food, its more about bringing the flavours of the food and the vibe of the area around Brick Lane London to Sydney. I have half Indian/half English heritage so my idea was to create Indian inspired food that the Aussie market would love and do it in a venue that payed homage to the funky street art vibe of the famous Brick Lane in London. I then partnered with Alistair French (another Brit and lover of Indian food) who brings a professional lifetime of hospitality and restaurant management to the team and our superstar Chef Joey.
What makes Brick Lane cuisine unconventional, when was the breaking point in discovering this style?
The food at Brick Lane is unconventional because it has drawn its inspiration from India but it isn’t by any stretch of the imagination classic Indian fare. We aren’t creating modern Indian food per say, but instead we are creating Indian Fusion which is naturally modern in its style. So the food at Brick Lane is unconventional because we have created dishes based on Indian cuisine but we’ve done it all with a twist! For example, check out the Naan-Mi, Brick Lane’s adaption of the Vietnamese Bhan-Mi – spiced pork belly with pate, coriander and chilli all wrapped up in a buttery roti bread with a dash of curry sauce for good measure! Delicious.
The breaking point in discovering the style came when we really asked ourselves the question: are me making Indian food that has global influences OR are we making Mod Aus food with an Indian influence? The answer eventually became clear – it simply needed to be dishes that had their place within a balanced menu but all had a connection back to the Indian Subcontinent – be it the style of dish OR flavours in the dish. For example: samosas are classic Indian fare but we fill them with unexpected fillings such as trout & ginger. Then there’s a Kingfish and Scallop ceviche – nothing classically Indian about that style of dish but we use spice combinations that give it an Indian twist. Some dishes, such as the eggplant curry taste very classically Indian but then we balance the menu with some lighter fresher dishes, like the ceviche. So as long as it has a connection back to the Indian Subcontinent, is balanced within the menu and is delicious, then that’s our style!
What was lacking at other Indian restaurants around Sydney/Darlinghurst?
Restaurants serving up classic Indian/traditional Indian food are great! Everyone at some point craves the comfort of a big bowl of steaming hot curry and a garlic naan. But this style of food can be fairly heavy on the stomach and quite overwhelming on the palate for some, so we identified two gaps in the market:
- Giving Sydney the option to eat Indian flavours but in a lighter, fresher style – hence the fusion/unconventional style of our food. It’s more targeted toward the Aussie palate.
- Doing it in a venue that has a great drinks list, a cracking play list and a really fun vibe!! A place you actually want to hang out at for a good few hours.
What are you the top dishes to look out for in the lighter bites, bigger eats section?
You have got to try the King Prawn Curry Leaf! A juicy piece of king prawn on top of prawn and coconut curry, spiced rice and a betel leaf. Pick it up with your hands, Indian style, and get stuck in!! And for the ultimate fusion, check out the Fried Chook Platter in the bigger eats section – it’s the ultimate fusion of India, America and Mexico. Build your own tacos using fried chicken with all the condiments – pickled cucumber, cauliflower, vindaloo hot sauce, yoghurt and roti wraps. Throw in some zesty Kachumber salad for some added freshness and you’re on your way. So good!!
Tell us something not many people know about the team!
We love a good argument, or should we say ”professional discussion”. It’s true testament to everyone’s passion and drive to all be the best we can as a team! No dictators here – just a team full of drive and ambition!
With that said, I’m looking to host a group of foodies who do enjoy Indian and those whom haven’t tried the cuisine.