In The Lord of the Rings Hobbits are known for things such as socialising, drinking, and eating, as well as not being ones to venture far from their immediate homes. Although I often venture outside my area of Sydney for weekend breaks, I am guilty of sticking to my area like a Hobbit when it comes to dining out. So when I was given the opportunity to sample a Food Morning Sydney deal in Crows Nest, I saw it as a great chance to venture out and try somewhere new.
Crows Nest Plaza isn’t much to look at from the street, but inside you’ll find several shops and restaurants, including Bayleaf Brasserie which serves traditional Indian food. Entering from the stark, fluorescent lighting in the Plaza, inside Bayleaf is warm with red and gold finishes.
Instead of focusing on one region of India, Bayleaf’s menu features dishes from various regions, showcasing their different techniques and spices. On Sundays they host regional buffet dinners, and they also hold Indian cooking classes for $60pp which includes lunch.
Private dining room for up to 25 guests
Pappadums, $3.50 | Raita of the day, $3.50
Food Morning Sydney provided me with a complimentary voucher for their deal of ‘$29 for $65 towards any food and drinks from the menu’. We start with crunchy pappadums perfect for scooping up the raita of the day, which is a green and tangy mint and coriander raita.
Sadabahar Tikki, $11
We choose our dishes based on recommendations from our waiter, and he explains that their dishes are not overpowered by chilli heat like some Indian dishes can be; they instead use the various spices to give the bold flavours and impart the heat.
Our first entree of Sadabahar Tikki is one of Bayleaf’s signature dishes. Two large beetroot and kumera patties, flavoured with mango powder and chaat masala, are served with a sweet chutney. Lightly crisp on the outside, the vibrant purple interior is soft, packed full of flavour, and quite unlike any other Indian dish I’ve had before.
Nizami Bakra, $13.50
As goat lovers, we can’t go past ordering the entree of Nizami Bakra. The Hyderabadi-style goat is tender, and slow cooked with saffron, sesame seeds, tomato and onion. It is rich, yet fresh and fragrant, with a heady aroma of spices that you can both smell and taste.
Mango lassi, $4
Despite their subtle use of chilli, I always need some cooling relief from the spice heat. The mango lassi is delicious, though very thick which isn’t ideal for drinking with a straw.
Baingan Caldeen, $16.50 | Rice, $3pp (not pictured)
I love Indian vegetarian food, and our first main is another wonderful dish. Baingan Kaldeen is a creamy, earthy, coconut-based curry, with snap-fried baby eggplants. Paul likened it to a vegetarian butter chicken in its creamy richness, with the sauce perfect for smothering the side of fluffy rice in.
The Bafat lamb dish is ‘dum’ cooked; pieces of lamb leg prepared with rich tomato and spices such cassia, cloves, and tamarind in a copper pot, then sealed with dough and cooked. This steaming method results in a rich gravy, and tender meat. We enjoy using the garlic paratha to scoop up the rich, slightly acidic sauce, and though I was too full by this point Paul almost managed to finish this and the eggplant curry.
Garlic paratha, $3.50
Pistachio and saffron kulfi, $6.50
Did I say I was too full? Well you know there is always room for dessert, especially for Indian dessert. Bayleaf make their Indian sweets in-house and have a range of kulfi (ice-cream) flavours, as well as gulab jamun. Though Paul is not usually one for dessert, I easily convinced him to order one and he chose the pistachio and saffron kulfi. The kulfi is light yet creamy, with texture and crunch from the pistachios.
Gulab jamun, $5.50
Gulab jamun are milk-dough balls which are deep-fried then soaked in rosewater sugar syrup. I am used to having them served bobbing in a pool of syrup, so I was surprised when these arrived coated in coconut and served on spoons. But it was a happy surprise, as these were deliciously sweet, fresh, and soft, and saturated with syrup to their centres.
Indian masala chai, $4
We finished dinner with masala chai; prepared here by adding fennel, cinnamon and cloves to boiled water, then added to milk and boiled again; though the spices weren’t as strong in flavour as I’d hoped.
We had a fantastic dinner on our adventure to new lands, and thoroughly enjoyed the quality of the dishes at Bayleaf. And I am looking forward to getting out more and exploring more of Sydney!
How far do you venture when dining? Are you a Hobbit or an adventurer?
You can buy this deal here until Sunday 4 September.
Food Morning Sydney
Lunch – Tuesday to Friday, and Sunday, 12pm-3pm
Dinner – Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm-10pm
61 2 9906 6080
2-14 Crows Nest Plaza, 103-111 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest