Indian classic from the streets of Old Delhi to Newtown

Delhi was the place where Kahn earned his first rupee and also where he first saw his wife. Naturally, when the time came, there could be no other name for his first restaurant, writes Will Temple

Christine Manfield recommends it as one of her favourite “go-to” Indian restaurants in Sydney. 

England cricket captain Alastair Cook managed some hometown solace with a curry here during and Ashes tour. 

But don’t worry. You don’t have to have the Manfield palate or be beaten five-nil to enjoy an evening out at Newtown’s Delhi ‘O’ Delhi. 

Proud owner Javed Khan has taken his love of Northern and Central Indian cuisine and given it an extra tasty modern twist, with the result about as far from a butter chicken diner as you can get. 

Who could settle for a regular onion bhaji or samosa starter after the creative spice vision of grilled cottage cheese patties with raisins and bursts of fresh ginger, served up with a pineapple and chili chutney? 

Or what about Khasta Raj Kachori, “from the streets of old Delhi” which at first glance looks more like a decadent dessert than an entrée? 

The elaborate construction could be wafers with chocolate sauce and ice cream but is in fact a crisp savoury pastry filled with diced potatoes, spicy chick peas, tamarind chutney and yoghurt.

Tonight we step in from a rainy chill and immediately warm to the flickering brazier and bright red shirts of Khan and his staff that look classically simple. 

There is enough tradition to keep loyal tastebuds happy, while the variations of chef Prawesh Chauhan have them truly popping. 

The chef’s Mopala Murgh uses free-range chicken in coconut, as well as browned onions and ground spices. 

A Madras coffee infused with chicory finishes off perfectly the gravity-defying (and Instagram-ready) dessert Lucknowi Meetha. 

Definitely try the spiced lamb cutlets naturally tenderised with green papaya succulent or the very mouth-watering dish Khatte Baingan, a fleshy eggplant dish sweetened slightly with mango, which hits the spot. 

The atmosphere at Delhi ‘O’ Delhi ranges from bright Bollywood dancing on special occasions, like Indian Independence Day, to more intimate evenings away from the bustle of nearby King St. 

Delhi-O-Delhi brings the same level of taste and service and luxury from the Oberoi Grand Kolcata to Newtown, lucky for the locals, great location and among the elect for some of Sydney’s chefs. 

Delhi ‘O’ Delhi’s wine list includes a fine 2012 pinot noir from actor Sam Neill’s Two Paddocks vineyard in Central Otago as well as a BYO option.