Malabar South Indian Restaurant

Classic south Indian cuisine done with style, flair and a healthy sprinkling of tradition.
Gary Brun
July 01, 2023


On a huge corner location in one of Sydney's most vivid and exciting suburbs, Malabar in Darlinghurst is classic south Indian cuisine done with style, flair and a healthy sprinkling of tradition.

As you enter the dining room you'll first notice the life-size murals of people in traditional south Indian dress staring across at you, like stoney faced Maharajahs willing you to sit down and feast with them. The table settings are elegant and understated, while historical artworks are thoughtfully placed around the room, as if to remind you that tradition and history are intricately linked with Indian cuisine.

Tradition is big here, with all the spice masalas ground in house, meat cut on the premises and fresh produced sourced from local farms — whatever local farms means when in Darlinghurst. Malabar's menu is all about colour, texture and flavour and the chefs prepare everything using traditional methods.

The starters include cauliflower florets mixed with spicy potato, fresh coriander and red onions, and wild caught barramundi marinated in a coulis of chilli powder, crushed coriander, turmeric and homegrown curry leaves.

house-made dosas from Malabar - one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney

Malabar's famous dosai

They also offer a range of dosai — these are a South Indian specialty of light and crispy fermented rice and lentil crepe wrapped around a filling. Options include the masala dosai with mashed potatoes and mustard seeds, the chicken paneer with pulled chicken, tomatoes, curry leaves and black pepper, or the prawn dosai with a tangy and spicy tomato relish and green capsicum.

Our favourite Malabar main? It has to be the a medium-hot goat mappas marinated in green chilli and turmeric, slow cooked with fresh coconut paste. And for vegetarians, there's the matthanga kootu with split chickpea, pumpkin and coconut paste dressed with ginger, green chilli and cumin. Order some basmati rice and a heap of garlic and cheese naan to create a veritable Indian feast.

Malabar South Indian Restaurant also an impressive wine list here, which pairs with the food wonderfully. For a crisp white, try bottle of Italian pinot grigio from Corte Giara, while if you're after a bold red to pair with your beef vindaloo, then the Running with Bulls Tempranillo from the Barossa is a fab option. Alternatively, Malabar has a BYO license for wine only (corkage $5 per person) if you feel like bringing your fave drop from home.

a selection of curries at Malabar - one of the best indian restaurants in Sydney


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