Curry Chronicles

Quite seriously folks butter chicken (Murgh Makhani) is the food of kings or more specifically maharajahs, succulent morsels of chicken half done in the tandoor oven, finished in a creamy tomato based sauce. Served with jasmine or basmati rice and a plain (preferably heavily buttered) naan. Ooohhh dipping that hot buttered naan into the creamy butter chicken sauce truly is bliss. To get the best butter chicken on earth you need to head to Khybers Indian Restaurant in Maroubra. Unfortunately, they have now closed, and with it has gone forever the best butter chicken to have graced this green Earth.

This is my inspiration, it's what keeps me going, I'll find the second best butter chicken out there, I'll go to Europe, all over Asia and Australia, from top to bottom and East to West, I'll find another butter chicken that I can love, well like, for there can only be one true love, and that has come and gone. Butter chicken is an excellent way to gauge how the restaurant will perform in many classes, why? Well everyone knows that butter chicken would be the best selling curry from any Indian joint, whether it be restaurant or eatery, so the effort they put into the their best selling dish would be a fair indication of the effort put into other dishes, however, as always, there are exceptions to the rule, sometimes, occasionally, you will find a restaurant that will make an ordinary butter chicken but excel in other dishes like the Beef Madras or a Lamb Vindaloo.

Throughout this Indian journey I'll also be making careful notes on the Naan's, Naan's are a central point to any Indian meal, the only exception to this is getting a quick meal at lunch, sometimes you opt not to have the Naan at lunch as it's quite filling and often makes you want to doze in the afternoon, which isn't a bad thing but could be seen as non-productive by the hand that feeds you, ironic I know, well not really. but whatever... on with the reviews!

** Best so far - Bombay Bloomers **

Posted 18.06.2007

Royal Mughal - Dubai

So for some reason it's been nearly 8 years since I've put up a review of Indian food here, I'm not sure why as I've eaten thousands of meals since then for sure, anyway now in Dubai there are an incredible amount of Indian joints to eat at and review, today we're going to start with Royal Mughal. They call themselves 'The Indian Bistro' at their Dubai Media City location and I gotta say the inside of the restaurant does have a cafe vibe and doesn't look like a typical Indian restaurant, which can be a good thing I guess. My first order was a delivery, had the chicken malai tikka, butter chicken, gosht rogan josh, home-style chicken curry, a butter naan, a garlic naan, lamb briyani and a brown onion pulao.

Instead of starting with the tikka I went straight for the butter chicken, dipping a piece of garlic naan straight into that orange sauce, the garlic naan was a decent, not amazing but it was soft and soaked up the butter chicken sauce well which was a good thing as it was nice and creamy, wasn't sweet and had a slightly tangy taste, it was delicious, the actual chicken in the dish was a little dry but was this was forgivable as the curry made up for it even though it didn't have much of a smokey flavour. The chicken tikka had a nice mellow flavour but honestly the chicken was too dry, it wasn't juicy and was hard to eat, so I moved onto the rogan josh with a bit of the brown onion pulao which was an amazing combo, the depth of flavour in that rogan josh was simply stunning, all those spices were just dancing on the palate and the pulao was so nice and fluffy it could be eaten on its own.

The lamb briyani was another delicious rice, nice and fluffy too, with great flavours and the actual lamb was pretty decent too, it surprised me as I've gotten used to getting crap briyanis from Indian restaurants labelling anything that is remotely coloured like a briyani (and sometimes not) a briyani. But by far the best dish was the home style chicken curry, not sure whos home this is styled from but I want to live there, such a delicious curry with some good south indian type flavours coming through and interestingly the chicken in this dish was fantatsic, perfectly cooked, has definitely been cooking in the curry for quite some time, absolutely flawless, something that the naans weren't they were OK but lack lustre compared to the beautiful curries.

Overall the food from Royal Mughal was very good, especially the rices and curries, they also have great snack type food like Keema Pavs and Chaats, these are all delicious too, their samosas are excellent and quite spicy and is why the entree score is higher than a five. They could definitely improve on the breads, specifically the naans, a soft naan that has some cripsy bits on the edge are the best. Another area for improvement is the tikkas, they need to be roasted in such a way that they retain some juiciness, these were far too dry, even for breast pieces.

Butter Chicken - 7 | Other Curries - 8 | Rice - 7 | Naan - 5 | Entree - 6 | Raita - 5 | Overall - 7

Posted 16.03.2016

Excellent Indian? - Indian Excellency - Chambers Food Court Sydney CBD

According to the name apparently so. This is another eatery style Indian that is open for lunch, it's in the Chamber's food court which has a great mix of places to eat, there's Malay, two Chinese places, a coffee shop, and a sandwich place that does burgers as well. I first saw the Indian place when I was getting some Chinese, and noticed that it had a fair few customers, which was good to see, all to often I have seen the Indian place in a food court the only one with no patronage. So soon after I tried it. I've been a few times now and have tried a few different curries they have on offer, as with most takeaway Indian eataries you can get a combination of curries on rice for a set price. Theses guys have daily specials, one of which is a briyani, which isn't too bad for a takeaway place. In addition to the curries, rice and naans, they have pre-packed papadums, pickles, raita's and lassi's.

As usual the first curry I tried was the butter chicken, and it was good, creamy and tasty it had a typical flavour of a above average butter chicken, although it lacked a smokey, charcoaly flavour, but to be honest I didn't expect it to have that intensity of flavour. The chicken was reasonable and cooked well, infact as I write about it, it's remarkably like the butter chicken from Curry King Express. Moving onto the Lamb Korma, this one didn't quite cut it with me, the lamb was boring and tasted oldish and the curry was lacking alot of flavour. The Lamb Vindaloo however was fantastic, great spicy, hot, vingary flavour, with quite good lamb pieces, the standard Chicken Curry these guys do is also really good, it's a sure winner that's cooked with remarkable consistency, I have it a fair bit, and one that I have tried recently is the South Indian Chicken curry, which doesn't look the greatest, it's like a grey brown colour, but don't let that scare you, it is fantastic, a milder curry with a slight coconutty taste.

Vegetables dishes like the channa masala (chickpeas) aloo (potatoes) and the mixed vegtables are top notch, but the best is the potatoes with mushrooms, soooo good. I was very impressed at how consistently the different vegetable dishes taste so good, the vege's always taste fresh and are never over cooked, with things like cauliflower keeping an ever so slight crunch to them. I also love the fried fish they do here, pieces of some kind of fish, perhaps perch, are marinated in some light masala and then pan fried, it's light, tasty and well coz it's fish, it's good for you, I usually get a piece to accompany my other dishes if I eat-in. My only issue with the curries from Indian Excellency is that, in a lot of the chicken curries, they use the use boned pieces of chicken, so sometimes you can come away with only one or two pieces of proper, edible chicken, this isn't the case with the Butter Chicken though.

The naan isn't the best, but it's not too bad, remember it's not fresh, it sits under the heat lamps for however long, this doesn't matter too much as this is a lunch Indian place, and a naan isn't high on the priority. On Thursdays, the special is a Parota with curry, the Parota is an excellent addition to the menu, they are very hard to get in Sydney, particularly in the City and East, it's pretty clear to see that many people, alot of them Indians, flock to this place for that Parota fix on a Thursday. The samosas really let the team down, very boring flavour and too thick a crust, however things pick right back up again with the Chicken tikka, below is a favourite combination whenever I don't feel like eating rice, a Garlic Naan with their delicious Dhal, some Mixed Vegetables, a samosa or pakora and a big juicy piece of Chicken Tikka!

I don't know about it being excellent Indian, however it's very very good, I'm really happy having this as my local Indian haunt for lunches, highly recommended to at least be tried for lunch! So head on in and be sure to check out the daily specials.

Butter Chicken - 7 | Other Curries - 7 | Rice - 4 | Naan - 6 | Entree - 5 | Raita - 6 | Overall - 7

Posted 18.06.2007

Meh... - MehFil - Campbelltown

Mehfil, a pretty popular name for Indian restaurants, there's some in the US, there's a few in Oz and probably more in other countries, but of course they are not affliated. This particular Mehfil's was advertised as Indian and Pakistani food, like there's a major difference. Being the only the second table in a large restaurant on a Saturday night made us a little weary, time to test this place. We started with the entree platter, which consisted of lamb Seekh Kebab, Chicken Tikka, Vegetable Pakoras and Samosas.

The Chicken Tikka was pretty good, moist and tasty, was great with the mint sauce, however that was the best of the platter, the pakora's were a bit dry and lacked flavour, the Seekh Kebab were just bits of meat, they didn't have much of a tandoori flavour to them at all, which was surprising as they looked great, and the Samosas, they were the worst of the lot, very oily, and not only was the potato filling boring, it had sultanas in it!! First time I've seen that, perhaps this is the Pakistani influence coming through.

Soon after the mains arrived. The Lamb curry was like a goulash, and was very tasty, it also packed alot of punch in terms of chilli, however that didn't detract from the flavour which was very nice indeed. We also had a vegetable curry, which had cauliflowers, carrots and potatoes, it was decent, but nothing special, and the Butter Chicken, despite looking like it could have been a winner was a boring, bland, small entry, very disappointing, however what saved it was the rice, we ordered a couple of rices, one was the garlic rice, which was absolutely sensational, I couldn't see any actual garlic in the rice, but I didn't care, it was delicious and really made eating the Butter Chicken quite nice! We also had a lamb Hyderbad Briyani, which was also very nice, the lamb was cooked just right, not dry at all, which is quite a feat to accomplish in a Briyani. The naans did nothing for us, just standard round naans that didn't stand out at all.

In conclusion, as far as Butter Chicken goes, this place doesn't make the cut, the entrees and medicore curries don't help the situation, the only thing it's got going for it is the unbelievably delicious garlic rice, it's so good I would consider going back, or maybe I'll just get some garlic rice takeout to use on another curry!

Butter Chicken - 5 | Other Curries - 5 | Rice - 9 | Naan - 5 | Entree - 6 | Raita - 5 | Overall - 6

Posted 18.06.2007

Hit the Spot - Bombay Bloomers - 62 Perouse Rd Randwick (02) 9314 6750

Khybers reincarnate, Bombay Bloomers in trendy Randwick, amongst the thick of the action, a minutes walk from the Randwick Ritz theartes and across the road from the legendary Arthur's Pizza. Bombay Bloomers is a vast improvement from the old Khybers in Maroubra. The large bright interior which greets you is a stark contrast to the gloomy dark atmosphere which Khybers had.

The Friday night we chose to grace them with our presence was a busy one, as I'd suspect most Friday's are here. However being regulars for years we were seated quickly and always attended to with no delay. The appetisers of papadums, a Katchumber, which is onions cucumbers and tomato with a peppery dressing and a mint chutney were perfect to get us even hungrier than we were. Soon after, the onslaught of entree's we ordered began to arrive, first on the scene we had the vegetarian items, Pakoras and Samosas. The Pakoras we're delicious, dry as they are meant to be but tasty and went down very well, particularly with a Kingfisher. The golden brown samosas were even more delicious, after piercing the thin pastry skin the spicy mix of peas and potato was awesome.

Within a few minutes our meat entrees arrived at the table, which were Chicken Tikka, Chicken Gathi, Mansoori Kebabs and Seekh Kebabs. The Chicken Tikka and Mansoori kebabs had a light tandoori flavoured sauced covering them, was a nice touch I have not seen elsewhere. The lamb on the Mansoori's was tender and delicious, eating chops off the bone is always great fun and more so when they have been done in the tandoor, the chicken tikka was flavourful and was even better with a bit of mint chutney. We all found the Chicken Gathi a little ordinary and quite dry, but with the calibre of the surrounding entrees it's easy for a dish that would normally be OK to seem lacking in flavour. Devouring these entrees certainly did their job, in that they left us salivating for more.

For the mains we decided to go with our usual curry combination, Butter Chicken, Beef Madras and the Lamb and Potatoes, to accompany our curries we chose the Peas Pulao and heavily buttered naans, (not on the menu, you just need to ask for plain naans heavily buttered!). Unfortunately the butter chicken wasn't the same as Khybers, I guess we can't expect it to be, I reckon they are using new pans! This didn't mean it wasn't delicious. This butter chicken actually had a bit of kick and spice which I thought was fantastic, that creamy tomatoey taste, the tender chicken morsels and a little spice just to add that special touch. The potatoes in the lamb and potatoes are nothing short of amazing, I don't know what they do to them but they are incredible, the lamb is of course excellent as well, tender, and not rubbery, and importantly not fatty, at all, I was very impressed by that, as lamb is typically a fatty meat.

The dish of the night however was the Beef Madras, referred to as 'Sex in a bowl' by a member of the testing commitee, this curry had an incredible mix of coconutty and chilli spice flavour, the beef pieces were the perfect size and the fork pierced them beautifully, the beef was so tender you could even shred the pieces with the fork, eating this with the yellow rice laced with peas and onions truly was a memorable experience. I can't recommend this curry enough, I'd say it's what the butter chicken was to Khybers. Wiping the serving bowl clean with the soft, thick naans is totally acceptable with this dish.

Bombay Bloomers is fully licensed and offers a selection of beers including India's own Kingfisher and also a range of wines. There's also a bottle shop a few doors up if you prefer to BYO. In conclusion, even though the butter chicken isn't the same as the Khybers one, it was still great in its own right, and given the rest of the curries, rices, breads and whole atmosphere of the place is a 110% improvement on Khybers, I'd say Bombay Bloomers easily takes the crown from Khybers.

Butter Chicken - 8 | Other Curries - 8 | Rice - 7 | Naan - 7 | Entree - 7 | Raita - 6 | Overall - 9

Posted 02.06.2007

Passing of Khybers - **CLOSED**

Presenting Khybers, the creators of the what was the best, bar none, butter chicken anywhere. To be perfectly honest, this was the only thing going for this restaurant. The internal decor was terrible, old and dark, the location wasn't the fanciest and the teenagers at the bus stop directly outside mooning the customers regularly didn't really make this the most delightful dining experience. All this however, is forgotten instantly once you taste this magic butter chicken. Here we have an entree platter, which came with chicken tikka, seekh kebabs, samosas and pakoras. The chicken tikka was ok, but the seekh kebab was often hard, overcooked and smelt like the meat was old. The samosas are vegetarian as are the pakoras and were just average. Above and to the right you can see me dipping a HB (heavily buttered) naan into that creamy butter chicken. Below we see the butter chicken being prepared in the kitchen. Given the state of the kitchen I am truly surprised I was allowed to take these pictures, as you can see it's rather disgusting and the pan being used to prepare our butter chicken looks like it hasn't been washed since the first fleet arrived in Botany Bay. At the bottom of this article you can see a small video of action from within the Khybers kitchen!

This pan however, may have something to do with how this butter chicken was unbeatable, everyone else cleaned their pots and pans, losing that baked in flavour which would have been passed onto the next serving to be prepared in it. Another thing I like about Khybers is the fact they had a genuine tandoor oven, here you can see the tikka stained hands of the chef handling a naan in the clay oven. Getting back to the butter chicken, it was so thick and creamy, the chicken being roasted in the tandoor for a while then finished off to simmer in the butter chicken sauce on the pan made for a flavour that, to this day, I have yet to experience anywhere else. Each mouthful of this orange heaven had that smokey charcoaly taste, and unlike many other butter chickens, it wasn't terribly sweet, don't get me wrong, this butter chicken isn't exactly spicy or hot, but I would say the dominant flavour was that tandoori smokiness mixed with a tomatoey aroma.

As you can see above the butter chicken was always finished first, other curries like the beef vindaloo were not bad, but no reason to go to Khybers, there was better stuff elsewhere, it was solely for the butter chicken. One eye opener was when I had the left overs the next day. The plastic container with the butter chicken in it would be pretty much a solid, you could take it out of the fridge, remove the lid and hold it upside down and it wouldn't move, no I wasn't in space, it's due to the incredible amount of cream that's in this dish, I often wondered what the fat content was, but it didn't bother me for too long, after all anyone who ate here knew there was alot of oil and cream used in the cooking, the vindaloo for example had a clear visible layer of oil on top of it even when it was served 'fresh'.

Here's a little video of Khybers butter chicken in action!

As mentioned elsewhere on this page, Khybers no longer exists as a restaurant, it was fun while it lasted, eating here sometimes once a week was OK when your 20 - 26 years old but doing this now I would be fast tracking my way to a juicy coronary. The proprietor of Khybers has now moved on to another restaurant in Randwick called Bombay Bloomers, and I can tell you now, the butter chicken there is not the same, and after speaking with the owner it's clear he's now changed his ways and is after preparing, fresher healhier food, but I'll save those comments for another review.

Butter Chicken - 10 | Other Curries - 6 | Rice - 5 | Naan - 8 | Entree - 6 | Raita - 5 | Overall - 8

Posted 20.05.2007

Curry in a Hurry - Curry King Express - 7/878 Anzac Pde Maroubra 2035 (02) 9349 8691

It seems that over the last few years little Indian eateries and take aways have started popping up in just about every suburb around Sydney, and probably other cities around Australia. The food from these establishments is usually pretty standard and cannot compare with a decent actual Indian restaurant or of course the good 'ol home made fare. There is a relatively new player in the market that has opened up in Maroubra. Curry King Express.

I first tried them a few weeks ago and was really impressed with the flavour of the curries and side dishes, better than alot of restaurants I had tried. Above you can see a large take away rice with three curries, beef vindaloo, vegetable korma and butter chicken, there's also a garlic naan, 2 vegetable pakoras and a little tub of yogurt. The butter chicken is probably the best butter chicken in the area now that Khybers has closed, the vegetable korma tastes great and the vegetables don't feel old, the vindaloo is excellent, it's not extremely hot like some can be, and the sauce has that tangy vinegary flavour that a vindaloo should.

Another very important factor is the meat they use doesn't taste like rubber and seems to be quite lean, I am yet to bite into a piece of lamb, chicken or beef from this place that has fat in it, that's a pretty big effort on their part. If I had one complaint it would be about the naan, it wasn't fresh and was a bit hard, in their defence a naan is only good when it comes straight outta the tandoor and to your table, it's very hard for these kind of eateries to have fresh naans all the time. This eatery also has an amazing amount of dishes, I have never seen so many different curries available from the same place before in Australia. There's dhals, about 4 different vegetarian curries, and a further 4 more in each of the different meats (beef, chicken and lamb). There's vegetarian and meat filled samosas, also 4 different types of naans, other more standard stuff like chicken tikkas and pakoras, and an assortment of yogurts, chutneys and lassi drinks. They even do chats bhel puri and 2 types of wada, if that's not all enough they also have 4 types of briyani dishes and for the non adventurous they have a tandoori chicken burger and a wrap, which is made with a naan. On top of all this they even deliver! Located in the heart of Maroubra Junction these guys are definitely worth a visit next time your in the area.

Butter Chicken - 7 | Other Curries - 7 | Rice- 4 | Naan - 6 | Entree - 5 | Raita - 5 | Overall - 7

Posted 11.05.2007

Box Office #1


Nagging Cough?

Petrina Bakes

Smoking Girl