Feeling the heat at Thousand Spices, Homebush

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Thousand Spices is our local go-to Indian restaurant. Introduced to us by a family friend, the food is home-cooked, authentic Indian fare, served in generous portions at affordable prices.
The modest, homely restaurant sits unassumingly right across the road from Homebush station. Whenever we feel like Indian food for dinner, whether it be eat-in or takeaway, our first port of call is Thousand Spices. 

Alongside the usual Indian dishes like Butter Chicken and Rogan Josh are more intriguing curries, side dishes and snacks that are well worth a try. There is a whole section of the menu dedicated to chaats - savoury snacks commonly eaten as street food in India. Some of these include aloo chat (fried spiced potato wedges), golgappe (puffed pastry shapes filled with beans and potatoes) and palak patta (crispy, battered spinach leaves). 

Shatteringly crunchy pappadums are studded with cardamom slivers and served alongside a green minted yoghurt to start.

Masala dosa
Dosa are ultra thin savoury pancakes made from a batter of fermented rice and lentils. Unlike typical breakfast-style pancakes, dosa are paper-thin and often rolled or folded. This one was a special on the night we visited and consisted of a rolled dosa filled with soft, diced potatoes in a mild, dry curry speckled with mustard seeds. It comes with a hot carrot sauce and cooling coconut sambal on the side. I really love the soft, slightly thicker, chewier underside of the pancake.

Bhel puri ($7.90)
As our dosa was the first of the night to be made, there was a little bit of a delay in its arrival. To accommodate for this, we're presented with complimentary bhel puri, a tumble of puffed rice grains, chopped peanuts, tomato, diced red onionsev (a kind of thin, fried noodle) and coriander bathed in a tangy, spicy sauce. The play of textures here is wonderful, and I especially love the variety of crunch offered by the combination of airy puffed rice, roasted nuts and thin sev. There is a unique balance of sweet and sour here that is highly addictive.

Chicken curry ($12.90)
This is described on the menu as a 'home-style' chicken curry, and has a dark, tomato-based gravy. Upon ordering, we were asked whether we preferred chicken with the bone-in, or chicken that was de-boned, and we opted for the former. We're glad that we did, because cooking the meat on the bone allowed it to remain succulent and juicy. This arrived as small, manageable, hand-cut chicken pieces with bones that were not too much trouble to eat around at all. If you are looking for a curry that is not too spicy, complex, creamy or heavy, this one would be the perfect choice.

Daal Makhani ($11.90)
This is one of my favourite daals. Slow-cooked over a tandoor, it's gloriously creamy and luscious, with a rich, buttery flavour and glossy sheen. Black lentils are the star here, flavoured with the faintest hint of fenugreek and finished with a drizzle of cream. A must try vegetarian dish.  

Goan fish curry ($16.90)
The Goan fish curry has got to be one of the best curries we've tried at the restaurant. The tomato and coconut-based sauce is complex yet delicate, and is infused with the sweet flavour of fish. We appreciate the fact that there is a good amount of fish in the curry, with more than enough for everyone to have at least a couple of pieces. The curry sauce is a little higher on the spice scale.

Butter chicken ($14.90)
The butter chicken is absolutely delicious. What really makes this curry memorable is the smoky, charred flavour of the chicken pieces, which have been cooked in the tandoor before being simmered in the rich, creamy tomato gravy. The sauce alone is enough to satisfy any curry craving - we soak up every last bit of it with our naan and rice.

Lamb korma ($13.90)
A nutty cashew puree forms the base of this mild lamb korma. The chunks of meat are cooked to varying degrees of softness, and the sauce is creamy and mild. 

Lamb Rogan Josh ($13.90)
A specialty of northern India, this iconic curry has a slick of chilli oil and runny, paste-like consistency. It's spicier and less rich compared to the other curries. 

Garlic and plain naan ($3.50, $2.50)
We can't have curry without ordering a few pieces of naan to soak up all of those tasty sauces. The plain naan has nicely puffed, soft edges, while the garlic variety is showered in fine pieces of garlic that are darkened in the hot tandoor oven.

Vegetable Jhalfrezi ($12.90)
This cooked vegetable dish features cauliflower, capsicum and carrot in a light, spiced tomato sauce. 

Kachumber Salad ($3)
A fresh salad of chopped cucumber, carrot, tomato and onion provides a refreshing break from the heavier, hotter curries.

There isn't a picture here, but we are also a big fan of their Khatte Aloo Baingan, a vegetarian dish of silky soft eggplant and wedges of potato in a tangy, hot tomato gravy.

We are yet to have a bad meal at Thousand Spices. It's our local favourite that we will visit time and time again. 

Thousand Spices Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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