Progressive Indian fare a specialty at Albion newcomer Nutmeg
We’ll never knock a butter chicken, but when it comes to Indian cuisine we know there’s so much more to explore. Nutmeg Indian Cuisine is a new restaurant opening on Sandgate Road in Albion today, Tuesday September 1, that is charting some exciting culinary territory. The brainchild of two die-hard food and wine lovers, Nutmeg will nudge the boundaries of the familiar – showcasing a variety of quintessential Indian flavours in some new and inventive ways, with a host of top-notch vino to boot.
For Binu and Laxmi George, their brand-new restaurant Nutmeg Indian Cuisine is a distillation of their passions – food, wine and entertaining. When the duo moved to Brisbane in August 2019, they did so with the goal of opening their own restaurant lodged firmly in the front of their minds. The two had spent the past 13 years studying hospitality and working amongst Adelaide’s dining scene, but with this change of scenery came a chance to finally make the most of their experience. Although the pandemic-related shutdown slowed the couple’s search for a suitable space, the right position eventually presented itself in Albion – just in time to catch the recent dining upswing. The light-filled Sandgate Road tenancy (formerly home to The Lodger Bar & Kitchen) has been given a cosmetic sprucing, with a colour palette of copper, burnt orange and black creating a sharp contrast throughout the venue’s interior. Meanwhile, decorative flourishes such as Indian serving bowls and a gold-coloured silhouette of the Brisbane river that wraps around the bar helps tether Nutmeg’s conceptual genesis to its local surrounds. For their pilot project, Binu and Laxmi have opted to take an adventurous and playful approach with Indian flavours. The George’s aim to deliver a progressive take on regional cuisine by serving recognisable tastes via imaginative presentation. In regards to Nutmeg’s exact culinary influences, chef Binu is not beholden to any one region in particular – although inspiration is drawn from India’s diverse street-food scene, elements are purposefully disassembled and extrapolated, creating dishes that are unique yet subtly familiar at the same time.
When it comes to Nutmeg’s menu, the fun starts with the entrees, which is where many of Binu’s twists are most apparent. The drool-worthy onion bhaji takes the form of a cluster of fried onion strips – coated in vegan chickpea flour before fried and served in a paper cone – while the succulent Agra lamb kebab is a play on the popular spit-roasted street-food staple, with Kashmiri chilli and garlic lamb-mince skewers cooked over wood chips and served in a smoking dome. A pair of Indian-style sliders are also a sublime snacking option – pepper lamb and battered potato fritters come served on fluffy buns and are bona fide melt-in-your-mouth morsels. The core of Nutmeg’s menu is dedicated to curries. Two Nutmeg signature curries (Bombay Chicken curry and a lime-and-chilli chicken curry) are available alongside unheralded options (slow-cooked mutton curry, fish or prawn malabar, southern-Indian-inspired nilgiri) and recognisable mainstays including butter chicken, paneer butter masala, korma, and vindaloo (plus extras like naan, biryani, chutney, pickles and pappadams). Binu and Laxmi are also bringing their love of wine to the fore with Nutmeg’s beverage list, curating a selection of drops sourced from across Australia – though there is a sharp focus on South Australian wineries, many of which Binu and Laxmi have visited personally. While all of the major varieties are showcased here, the George’s have made sure to spotlight wines that pair well with Indian cuisine – think tempranillo from McLaren Vale, a Clare Valley riesling and a pinot grigio from the Hunter Valley.
Nutmeg Indian Cuisine officially opens today, Tuesday September 1. Head to the Stumble Guide to find operating hours and contact details.
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