If like me, you love a place that’s a bit different, a restaurant with charisma and character that’s not afraid of being confident and creative in both décor and food, then you need to do yourself a favour and visit Don’t Tell Aunty in Surry Hills.
The restaurant channels chef Jessi Singh’s heritage and is inspired by his Indian Aunties. They must have had fabulous taste if the striking long peacock blue coloured velvet seats and polished brass dining chairs are any thing to go by! Not to mention Bollywood movies being projected on the bright pink walls.
Top it off with some disco style lighting and you have a very cool space especially for a catch up with friends. We are there on a Saturday night and the restaurant is full of people, chatter and delicious smells.
We are told that the Papadi Chaat ($16) is a must try for first timers and I would definitely agree! The dish is an Indian version of nachos and salsa – it’s fun, fresh and full of flavour. A perfect way to start the night.
One of my fellow diners is vegetarian so we are opting for a selection of meat free dishes to share. She gets very excited when she sees there is a vegetarian option of the Butter Chicken!
Jessi Singh’s butter chicken is making quite a reputation for itself in Sydney. He cooks the curry dish without butter, ghee and oil yet still achieves a beautiful buttery flavour from dried fenugreek leaves and seeds! I have to say it’s the first time I’ve had a butter tofu and it is simply delicious.
What would an Indian feast be without some naan bread? Well there’s good news for all of the naan lovers out there – you can order a whole basket at Don’t Tell Aunty featuring a generous serve of fluffy plain, garlic and chive and sesame and onion naans ($9).
Another great street inspired creation on the menu is the yoghurt kebab ($14). This dish features hung yogurt croquettes spiced with green chili & cardamom, served over a beet and ginger sauce. With a beautiful bright and edible pink flower on top this vibrant plate is certainly one of the prettiest Indian meals I’ve ever seen (oh and it tastes great too!)
We also try the Chana Masala ($16), a chickpea curry spiced with garam masala, pomegranate and mango powder which goes down perfectly with our bottle a Dormilona blanco, semillon ($49). We could have sat here sipping on wine all night but unfortunately our table is needed for the next booking and it’s time for us to go. But, I will definitely be back.
Don’t Tell Aunty is a wonderful celebration of the Indian flavours and spices we all know and love but with an added difference. Whilst paying homage to tradition the restaurant is modern, exciting and a very fun fusion of different cultures and cuisines.
The final say:
Standout dish – Papadi Chaat ($16)
Positives – Creative and modern Indian street food in a fun restaurant space with great décor and vibe.
Negatives – We could have stayed and sipped wine for hours longer soaking up the fabulous smells and atmosphere but unfortunately bookings are only 2 hours so make the most of it while you’re there!
Address: 414 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010