Indian cuisine never goes out of fashion. This couldn’t be more true at Blu Ginger restaurant in Canberra city, with chef Hari Prasad Sharma and owner Reddy Manne having worked together for 17 years to provide various Indian bites and curries to their community.
For eight years, Blu Ginger has occupied a spacious street-side restaurant house right in the heart of the city. Plush cushions and decorative patterned wallpaper of deep red and golden hues sit alongside giant concrete pillars and floor-to-ceiling windows, resulting in a space that speaks of refined Indian aesthetic with an industrial twist. High soaring ceilings imbue the spacious restaurant with an air of majesty to match the splendour of the Indian delicacies that are on the brink of being savoured.
Start with a selection of the moreish entrees to get a taste of the traditional Indian tandoor, an oven cooking method ingrained in Indian tradition and cuisine, resulting in succulent and flavoursome dishes. Try the Barrah Kebab, tender lamb cutlets that burst of flavour with each mouthful. Marinated in yoghurt and spices then cooked in the tandoor method, the meat takes on an earthy smokiness that is enhanced by the cooling and tangy yoghurt that is served on the side.
The Chicken Tikka bites are similarly cooked in the tandoor method. The chicken glows a vibrant shade of fiery red from the spices marinade. Satisfying crunchy caramelised bits on the outside withhold a succulent and juicy centre, while the mild heat of the spice mix leaves you with a lingering warmth even when all pieces have been eaten.
If its vegetarian bites you’re after, choose the Aloo Spinach Tikki, a crusty fritter with a filling of potato, spinach and cheese with a delightful nutty flavour that comes from the ground cashew nuts.
With an extensive array of filled naans are available, you’ll never go back to the normal garlic naan. Try the Onion Panner Kulcha – the bread itself remains soft and fluffy, encasing the rich filling that sings of soft, sweet onions with a fresh zing of coriander and salty paneer cheese.
Armed with naan to mop up every drop of sauce, next move onto a couple of curries. Chef Hari strives to hold onto traditional Indian methods of cooking, and thankfully for Blu Ginger patrons, he is not afraid to cook dishes for hours, even overnight, in order to achieve the delicious silky texture and depth of flavour of the sauces that will not fail to get you salivating. Deep bowls of fragrant curries arrive at the table, whose aromatics and vibrancy evoke romanticised images of Indian spice markets.
For a South Indian specialty, try the Seafood Moily. Three types of fish, namely Ling, scallops and prawns, come together in this smooth, golden sauce. The predominant flavours of curry leaves and mustard seeds are perfectly balanced and work harmoniously with the coconut-ty sauce. Whole mustard seeds are incorporated in the sauce, popping pleasantly in every mouthful and delivering a unique sensation to the dish.
It’s difficult to go past the butter chicken, especially when Blu Ginger’s rendition is delightfully complex and deep in its flavours, unsurprising when you know the sauce itself simmers away for three hours. Silky and rich, everything a butter chicken should be, the chunky bits of chicken remain tender and succulent coated in the thick, buttery gravy.
Attention to detail in the flavours also carries through to the rice which is speckled with grains of saffron rice, subtly flavoured with the floral saffron flavour and embellished with cumin seeds, that provide a soft spice flavouring that enhances the curry sauces.
It is reassuring to know that traditional Indian food with all its aromatic spices and complexity is so easily accessible. Blu Ginger deliver consistently authentic and delicious Indian food packed full of complex flavours that linger long after the meal has been enjoyed.