First Indian Establishments – Manjit’s
India is synonymous with colours, with an explosion of smells and sensations that fill your senses and with the characteristic flavours of this country whose distinctive cuisine stands out around the world, finding new diners every day who become fans of this traditional and at the same time exotic cuisine that conquers our hearts as well as our appetites.
Opening its first restaurant in Balmain in 1984, Manjit’s is considered to be one of Australia’s first Indian eateries. The Garuval family introduced Indian fare to the growing multicultural metropolis that was Sydney in the early 1980’s.
Australian food culture has done a lot of maturing since. Suburban corner pubs have replaced sticky carpet with slick interiors and classic pub food with sophisticated gastronomy.
So how has this impacted the fine dining scene in Sydney and how has Manjit’s managed to stay at the forefront of Indian cuisine?
Third-generation culinary expert and Head Chef at Manjit’s on the Wharf, Varun Garuval is well placed to answer these questions. He thinks the days of stiff, white gloved fine dining are “done and dusted. We are witnessing a casualisation of fine-dining. Look at the Rockpool group as an example.”
However, with Indian cuisine it’s the opposite. “Making Indian food ‘cool’ is a challenge. Japanese, French cuisine all lend themselves to being upmarket,” says Varun.
Mixing up “modern” and “authentic” Indian dishes at Manjit’s has been important for this creative chef who had previously honed his skills at Sydney’s Altitude Restaurant in the Hotel Shangri-La.
“The eight years as a Chef de Partie really challenged my culinary skills as well as my creativity with what we can do with fresh ingredients, the natural elements and plating,’ continues Varun whose playful nature is evident across several inventive dishes such as Banging Takata.
The eggplant and pea salad is trapped within a bell jar smoked with apple wood and cardamom to add an extra level of sensory excitement inspired by the smells of India.
But it’s not all about creative and cutting edge food. The secret of Manjit’s success remains its consistency in delivering quality dishes with no compromise.
“My dad always said, if you need to spend more to get the right flavour, spend more.”
With age, comes experience; and the team at Manjit’s are very equipped to delivery on modern demands. But not at an exorbitant price. “We wish to remain accessible and have no desire to make Manjit’s a hatted restaurant,” explains Varun.
To use Manjit’s tagline: “We knew what we were doing back then, and we know what we’re doing now.”
We will never tire of saying that King Street Wharf will always have something for everyone, as it is a place with a wide variety of venues, from pubs to restaurants and hotels, each with its own unique style. For this reason it is not surprising that there is a restaurant that transports us to India.
Manjit’s, the first Indian establishment on King Street Wharf will be the star of this article, for being the first is not its greatest merit, but it is easily one of the best Indian restaurants in the country. And that’s not just from us, but from the diners themselves, who fill the online polls every day with positive reviews.
With a sumptuous decoration that many have already characterised as stunning, Manjit’s Restaurant at King Street Bar is capable of taking you straight to India itself. You will feel as if you have magically travelled to that country, so entranced will you be by the exquisite ornament and ambience of the place.
A perfect blend of tradition and innovation is waiting for you at Manjit’s by Varun Gurjal, the chef de cuisine son of Manjit’s, who, although he has continued the tradition of his father and founder of the restaurant for over 30 years, has fused it with a wide variety of regional Indian cuisine and the most extraordinary traditions of the subcontinent.
It is not unusual to find traditional dishes ranging from Bombay and Delhi to Street Fare or Home Style and even the most sophisticated recipes served to royal families.
All adapted in such a way that it seems to belong to this restaurant.
At Manjit’s you can enjoy an excellent meal and accompany it with the wine of your choice, as they have a menu that has been praised by even the most discerning diners.
Indoor, public or private, reserved or not, with traditional Indian décor or a little more modern, you can find all this if you visit Manjit’s.
A lunch with your friends, a celebration with your family, an ideal place to visit after a business meeting and even if you are looking for privacy for a romantic dinner with your partner, you can find it here.
We recommend that you make a reservation before you go; there are many people who come every day to live the experience, although it is clear that most of them will repeat it.
Come to King Street Wharf and discover all it has to offer: feel like you are travelling through different cultures, feel like a king!
10 / 49 Lime Street, Sydney, NSW
+61 (02) 9279 3379