Newly opened in Sydney’s undisputed hub of Indian cuisine, Mayabazar is the jewel in the eatery crown that is Harris Park. Tucked away behind a richly landscaped façade on Station Street, the restaurant warmly beckons to those who walk past with an authentic and ever-changing list of dishes from across the subcontinent.
The easiest and most delicious way to surpass the language barrier is to simply order everything.
Many of the dishes featured in Mayabazar’s extensive menu are unique in their adoption of Hyderabadi flavours; Mayabazar’s Head Chef, Ranjith Kumar, himself having relocated from the comforts of his native Hyderabad in order to provide Sydney locals and migrants alike with an authentic taste of his homeland. Whilst many classic favourites remain on offer, Mayabazar suggests a welcome departure from the often-monotonous menus that plague many Indian eateries around Sydney. In-house owner, Anil Reddy, oversees service and takes pride in this fact.
Would you look at that ribbon of mango goodness?
Although this is a new restaurant and staff are still finding their feet, waitstaff are consistently attentive and friendly, promptly providing water, a selection of drinks (Mayabazar is licensed) including warming Masala Chai ($2.90) and a choice as to whether patrons are seated inside the restaurant or in an adjoining indoor-outdoor area ('Madira') that can be opened out onto the garden. Choosing the latter, one is rewarded with comfortable couches, both areas providing chairs and the interior offering cozy booth seats. Mayabazar also boasts 'Mayasabha', a tastefully designed function room for small parties and gatherings.
Luxurious colours to match a lavish palate. Image courtesy of http://mayabazar.com.au
Each mouthful of the Pani Puri starter (crisp shells stuffed with potato and chickpea and served with tamarind and a refreshing mint dressing - $6.90) manifests in a burst of flavour equally enjoyable for adults and children to assemble. Vegetarians at the table will enjoy the Ulli Palak Pakoda (deep fried onion and spinach rounds with a kick of ginger - $7.90) and the Paneer Vepudu (crispy cottage cheese with garlic, curry leaves, and coriander - $9.90), whilst meat-eaters can flake tender pieces off the Chapala Roast (Mayabazar’s shallow-fried fish of the day with fenugreek – 11.90). The Mango Lassi ($3.90) is soothing without tasting artificial or overwhelmingly sweet; a particularly delicious means of quelling the fire for those who prefer milder dishes.
Pani Puri would have to be the ultimate do-it-yourself snack.
Crisp paneer with a spicy buzz that lingers.
Moist and tender, this fish has been cooked with respect.
When it comes to mains, the Raju Gari Vegetable Pulao ($13.90) is full of goodness and a superb vegetarian choice that will appeal to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike – the spices are beautifully balanced and will make you wish there were an oversized portion you could take home with you. It is served with tempered yoghurt and gongura chutney. Mayabazar offers a Dal special each day (spiced lentil stew - $11.90) and the bowl we are served is piping hot, nutritious and comforting. A serving of another vegetarian speciality, Guthi Vankaya (eggplant sautéed in a rich sauce of peanut, cashew and coconut – $12.90) is cooked until tender with smoky notes that some will really enjoy but that others may find a touch bitter.
The Raju Gari Vegetable Pulao is a hearty and healthy must.
The Chicken Makhni (roasted chicken in a spiced blend of tomatoes and star anise cream - $13.90) arrives and is incredibly moreish, the chicken succulent and engorged with an opulent red sauce – perfect to sweep up with torn pieces of Plain, Garlic or Butter Naan ($2.50), Plain or Butter Roti (wholemeal - $2.50) or an authentic Hyderabadi wok-thrown Rumali Roti ($2.00). Be sure to lick your fingers.
Good food and equally good company in a comfortable atmosphere.
It was near impossible to capture this basket of Naan without someone dipping their hand in to grab another piece.
To find freshly prepared Rumali Roti in Sydney is quite rare, here at Mayabazar they do it well.
Unable to decide between the distinguished Kache Ghosht Ki Dum Biryani (spiced lamb layered with saffron rice - $13.90) and spiced chicken counterpart ($12.90), both dishes are ordered and provide a taste of honest regional fare. Whilst the meat in each is cooked to perfection, the dishes are similar (as noted in the menu) and it may be wiser to order something a little different as Mayabazar has an extensive list of Biryani and Pulao dishes ($12.90-$14.90).
Biryani is a wonderful accompaniment to any curry, though it remains equally enjoyable as a stand alone dish.
Although not yet listed on their menu, Mayabazar also makes a truly sensational in-house Dosa (gluten-free savoury crepe served with coconut chutney, tomato chutney and a mild vegetable dal). This is well worth enquiring about and establishes itself as a strong contender for the title of Sydney’s freshest, tastiest Dosa.
Straight from the kitchen and ready to be slathered with chutney.
When it comes to home-made desserts, Mayabazar offers Payasam (a milky rice pudding sweetened with almond and cardamom), Halwa (a sweet semolina pudding), Qurbani ka Meetha (apricot compote – another Hyderabadi speciality) and an assortment of Kulfi (pistachio, almond or mango ice cream) all on a rotational basis. Each dessert is priced at $5.00 and although sweet, the serving size of the Qurbani ka Meetha and assorted Kulfi dishes ordered is just right so as not to be overwhelming. The Kulfi does arrive from their freezer slightly too solid, although this is quickly forgotten with sampling the delicate nuances of each flavour.
This Almond Kulfi had a very soothing taste and was exactly what the doctor ordered to settle the stomach after a long and spicy feast.
It should be noted that many dishes contain nuts, though staff appear understanding, communicative and willing to cater for any dietary restrictions. Staff are equally well versed in which dishes would best suit children, patrons with a penchant for spice and those who prefer milder dishes. Coriander is used throughout as a garnish and could likely be omitted on the basis of any personal preferences, though it is a thoroughly enjoyable addition.
Mayabazar most definitely delivers 'Grand Indian Cuisine' and will continue to fulfil this promise as it further establishes itself and thrives. Although young, the impression this restaurant leaves is exceedingly positive and long-lasting.
Where: 48 Station Street East, Harris Park, 2150.
Cost: Entrées: $6.90 - $12.90, Mains: $11.90 - 16.90, Accompaniments: $2.00 - $4.00, Desserts: $5.00
When: Seven days a week. Open 5pm - 10:30pm Mon - Wed (Dinner); 11am - 11pm Thurs - Sun (Lunch and Dinner).
Good for kids: Yes, options for children include a share in the Tandoori Chicken (Half/Full: $12.90/$19.90), assorted rice and flatbreads ($2.00 - $4.00) and the Dosa (GF - above pictured). High chairs are readily accessible. Colouring-in paper and crayons are also available, as is the enclosed garden space to keep kids entertained.
Take away: Yes. Home delivery also available.