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Now Open: Amar Singh Is Growing His Indian Restaurant Empire with the Colourful Bibi Ji on Lygon Street

Lygon Street was once almost exclusively home to old-school Italian restaurants, but the strip is increasingly welcoming brilliant Pakistani, Turkish and Indian diners like this one.
Andrew Zuccala
May 19, 2024


Amar Singh, the legend behind some of Sydney and Melbourne's most forward-thinking Indian restaurants, has just opened his new eatery Bibi Ji on the Carlton end of Lygon Street. Much like Daughter-in-Law in Chinatown, Bibi Ji is home to Singh's much-loved brand of 'inauthentic' Indian food.

Inspired by street food snacks in India, but reimagined for a contemporary Australian audience, Singh's dishes are all about big flavours served up in an easy-to-share manner. To start, for example, you'll find the likes of a vegan chutney platter, spicy chicken bites, zingy dahi puri among a heap of other snacks.

You could easily treat Bibi Ji like an alternative sip-and-snack bar, stopping by for a few drinks paired with reimagined street eats. But it would be a shame to miss out on the extensive list of curries. On the menu, you'll find Aussie staples like butter chicken and tikka masala, plus plenty of lesser-known options, most of which are vegetarian.

Beyond the curries, tandoori chicken cooked on the bone, lamb seekh kebab, achari prawns and paneer tikka are streaming out of the in-house tandoor oven.

A healthy selection of classic and Indian-inspired cocktails and mocktails is available, as well as a long list of beers, whiskies and wines. When it comes to vinos, you can expect an entirely Victorian selection that covers your usual suspects as well as a few natty options.

Design-wise, Bibi Ji could not be more different than the space's previous occupant, Cafe Notturno, which was there for an impressive 45 years. Now, the 80-seat Indian diner is fully embracing the more-is-more aesthetic.

The ceilings are covered in a kaleidoscope of draped fabrics, the walls are either tiled, mirrored, or covered in bright paintings, a few big birds of paradise plants are dotted around the restaurant, and the bar is a symphony of colourful tiles, marble, and shimmering plastic garlands. It's hard not to crack a smile when first walking into Bibi Ji.

And we don't expect you'll lose that grin at any point during the dining experience.

You'll find Bibi Ji at 179 Lygon Street, Carlton, open 5pm–late Wednesday–Sunday, and 12–4pm Friday–Sunday. For more information, visit the venue's website.

Images: Jana Langhorst