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Ponsonby's Bolliwood Has Been Transformed Into a Fine Dining Indian Restaurant

A far cry from your average curry house, this new opening serves flaming lamb chops, lobster tail and moonshine in a flask.
By Stephen Heard
February 28, 2019
By Stephen Heard
February 28, 2019

There are plenty of first-rate Indian restaurants in Auckland, but none that can boast a Michelin-starred chef working away in the engine room — though we're sure that would be different if the guide was actually published in New Zealand. Hotelier turned restauranteur Aditya Sudan hopes that with star power his new opening will stand out from the rest.

In the space once occupied by Ponsonby curry house Bolliwood now sits the intriguing fine dining Indian restaurant Épicer. Sudan has enlisted Manjunath Mural to lead the kitchen, a chef with three consecutive Michelin stars and the name behind one of Singapore's most prominent contemporary Indian restaurants, The Song of India.

With Épicer, the goal is to create an elevated dining experience that moves away from oily curries to present Indian cuisine in the same light as great European culinary heavyweights. The name literally translates to 'bring the spice'.

You won't find butter chicken on Mural's menu, but you may eventually find an inventive riff on the chef's favourite dish. Instead, his menu combines Indian and European influences across degustation and a la carte menus with matched wines and smaller sharing plates. The first menu phase features dishes like sous vide pork belly vindaloo finished at the table with a blowtorch, lamb chops engulfed in flames, beef and quail egg kofta with Telanghana sauce, lobster tail topped with Mangolorean gassi, and pani puri finished with mint coriander or pink kokum syrup. As a way to cater for all tastes, a separate Indian-English-style takeaway menu will be introduced.

The cocktail list from award-winning bartender Mohit Sharma also incorporates Indian flavours. There's a tamarind and date margarita which comes with a black pepper kick; a murky rum beverage topped with smoking cinnamon and spotlighting Indian gooseberries; and an alcoholic version of the falooda dessert drink with noodles swimming around the base of the glass. While Sudan's main objective is to showcase highbrow cuisine, he believes that you should never forget your roots — to that extent there's house-made desi daru moonshine served in flask.

The space has also been given a significant refurb; the Bolliwood projector has been replaced with a bright new paint job and portraits showing the faces of modern India, while the upstairs loft has been set aside as a cocktail lounge.

Find Épicer at 110 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby from March 1.

Published on February 28, 2019 by Stephen Heard


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