“We need to start making time for each other again,” I declared to K. We were so busy at the end of last year with preparing for the wedding and the holiday season, that our regular ‘date nights’ slowly fell by the wayside as they were given up for dinners at home so that we could get more planning and preparation done at home. Quality, one-on-one conversations in an environment where we could focus only on each other became sparse as our time was consumed with conversations about booking cars, cakes, and wedding logistics.
Our first attempt at rejuvenating some quality one-on-one time came with a dinner at Relish India on Cleveland St in Surry Hills, a vegetarian restaurant. I had managed to score a Daily Deal voucher that entitled us to two Indian thali platters with drinks, for a mere $19. What a bargain!
We started off with some complimentary nibbles, which weren’t even originally included in our deal. Made up of a mix of chutney and crunchy fried chickpea crumbs on a pappadum, these morsels were very more-ish and it was hard to stop at just two.
We got glasses of lassi to go with our meal as well. This lassi was quite a bit sweeter than I expected, especially as it hadn’t been flavoured with fruit at all. This sweeter flavour actually meant that it paired particularly well with the thali plate to come, as it helped to counteract some of the spicier curries included with the meal.
Now this was the first time I had actually had a thali plate, and I was very impressed by the variety of the different components included on the platter. There was a healthy serve of soft naan bread, along with a large crispy just-fried pappadum and some fragrant steamed basmati rice. My two favourite elements on the platter were probably the small pieces of Indian style pickles – coated with a spice mix that goes right up your nose and really makes your eyes start watering with the intensity of the chilli – and the sweet gulab jaman for dessert, soaked in sweet sugar syrup.
With three curries and one daal on the platter, there was plenty of different options to sample from. In my younger, more naive days, I always thought that there couldn’t be much variation in “vegetarian curries” – how wrong I was! I think my pick of the bunch here was probably the creamy mildly spiced paneer curry. The creaminess and richness of the curry was definitely the highlight feature – so often, I find that curries are a little bit thin, and really need the addition of a spoonful of creamy yoghurt or similar to thicken it up.
Overall, It was disappointing to see the restaurant so quiet on the night that we were there. Given, it was only a Wednesday night, but I would have hoped to see more than three tables and a handful of takeaway orders in the one and a half hours that we were there. I know Maya Da Dhaba is popular for Indian food in that area, but I highly suggest that you consider visiting Relish India the next time you’re after quality vegetarian thali plates in Surry Hills!