Sydney is one city that boasts an abundance of Indian restaurants. The busy kitchens of these restaurants are invariably manned by one or more chefs of Indian origin. Therefore often there would not be any question about the authenticity of the food that is served. What many of these authentic Indian restaurants lack is not the authenticity of the dishes that they serve, but the wow factor you want when entertaining. This is not so at Maharaja's Lakeside in the busy business hub of Norwest Market Town in the Hills District. Maharaja's Lakeside Indian Restaurant truly comes across as an all inclusive package: authentic and mouthwatering Indian food, upmarket ambiance and to add to the appeal of the place, the beauty of the surroundings.
When we walked in to the restaurant quite early for lunch, the place was somewhat empty giving us the chance to choose the best seats of the house over looking the lake, the cascading water feature, and the ducks that roamed on the deck.
To begin with we were offered the usual welcome basket of papadums and mint rita that one would expect at an Indian food establishment. While breaking up the crispy papadums and dipping them in rita and munching it, we studied the menu.
Since we were at Maharaja's for a leisurely lunch, we most certainly were planning to savour as many options as our stomachs could handle.
We started off with the entree sunhari seekh kebab ($14.90 for four pieces). The sausage shaped kebab which was made of minced lamb blended with herbs had a unique taste. This uniqueness, I was told, comes from the special blend of spices that is specially made by the chefs at Maharaja's. The kebabs tasted even more amazing with a touch of that famous Maharaja's mint rita.
During my many culinary journeys in the past I have come to the realisation that the best way to experience the best aspects of subcontinent meals is to order plain rice as the main, together with a couple of curries as accompaniments instead of going with one main and rice. This system has worked for me, and with the group of foodies I often go out with on many an occasion. Staying true to this tradition, we opted to choose a couple of curries and plain rice as mains. A fan of the tandoori style of cooking, I choose Machhi Fish Tikka ($15.90) as one to go with my rice. The eye pleasing, mouth watering dish of boneless fish floating in a thick dark orange coconut milk based broth reminded me of a butter chicken curry. Machchi Fish Tikka was one dish that I could not get enough of. The hotness and spiciness intermingled with a hint of that ever present sweetness which complimented each other was not at all too much for my palate to handle. You do have the option of requesting a milder version if you are less familiar with spicy Indian food.
My second choice of curry accompaniment for the rice was, as I call them, a taste from the southern part of India. The chicken dish that's named Chicken Chettinad ($21.90) is a medium hot dish of tender pieces of chicken mildly spiced with a coconut gravy. Mixed with plain white rice, this dish was an absolute delight in my mouth.
Happy with my choices of curry, I could not help but order a third and went for the ever so popular lamb vindaloo. For those of you who are shy of spices, be warned, this is a dish that is hot and spicy. But having said that, neither the hotness or the spiciness of the dish makes you want to eat less of it.
How could a meal be complete without a vegetable curry as an accompaniment? Out of the most tempting list of spicy vegetable dishes we chose the Aloo gobi mehethi masala, ($15.90) A dish of potatoes and cauliflower cooked to perfection in a spicy masala paste. With the addition of that last vegetable dish our meal was complete.
If you are adventurous as I am when it comes to food, every single dish that Maharaja's has to offer would be nothing less than a delight for your taste buds. It also offers a unique glimpse of how the chefs prepare and make various types of Indian breads, as the preparation and baking area is in clear view of the main restaurant itself.
Maharaja's lakeside is not just a restaurant that you go for lunch and dinner; this is an ideal place for functions and parties. The function room overlooking the lake is an ideal space to have an intimate gathering to celebrate a special moment. This is a child friendly restaurant with high chairs available on request. This is also a BYO restaurant.
Where: Norwest Marketown Shopping Centre, Bella Vista (Baulkham Hills) NSW.
Why: Authentic Indian food, friendly service and awesome ambiance.
Cost: Banquets from $35 per person - this includes entrees, mains, accompaniments and dessert.
When:Lunch and Dinner