An Indian diner boasting powerfully flavored dal tadka, rich curries, and pillowy, well-charred naan. Some dishes show a welcome attention to authenticity, like the vinegar tartness to their lamb vindaloo (suitably rich with tender meat), while others such as the murgh makhani have the smooth, creamy, sweet-and-spicy hit of the Anglo-Indian curry house. Service in the regal-but-kitsch dining room is overwhelmingly attentive.
With so many Indian restaurants sporting pretty much identical menus, an eatery needs something more than the quality of their food to distinguish itself and pull in the diners. Indian Hut does have such a claim to fame: it is the caterer of choice for Indian aunties throwing a lunch party. It was at such parties that we first encountered their well-executed, delicious and more-than-just-curries-and-kebab offerings. Sadly, their pedestrian flagship space is a far cry and an unfortunate distraction from the novelty of their wonderful food. The place is small and clean, if a little clichéd, with its white tablecloths, folded cloth napkins and butleresque service (the kind where they are always half-stooped and give you a lot of “sir”). To be honest, it all feels a little old school and slightly oppressive. The menu, on the other hand, is delightful and includes many hard-to-find dishes. For example, we’ve yet to see their masala papad roll (poppadum roll stuffed with cottage cheese and vegetables, B110) at any other Indian place, and it’s deliciously stuffed too—with moist, spicy paneer and crunchy veggies. Their interesting list of appetizers also includes both vegetarian and, our preference, non-vegetarian samosas (stuffed turnover, B130). Filled with minced lamb and peas they are well-seasoned without falling into the usual trap of being greasy. You will also find the usual (and some unusual) curries on the menu. Their lamb vindaloo is suitably rich with tender meat, but the tartness of the vinegar brightens the whole thing in a way that’s rare in restaurant curries. Less common is their boiled egg curry, whose velvety texture is a nice change from red meat. For even more exciting curry options, their Indian-Chinese section offers, among other gems, the chilli chicken, a successful and classic fusion dish. So, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a lunch-party-throwing Indian auntie in your life and don’t live within delivery distance of Indian Hut, you won’t be disappointed by a trek out to Surawong to try this light and original fare. Just make sure to bring some entertaining friends to make up for the tight-laced atmosphere.