You've never had Indian like Aki's before. This is a smart and well run establishment that still retains the warmth and personal service of a family-run restaurant.
Down by the waterside of Woolloomooloo's Cowper Wharf Road in Sydney, you'll find a classy but homely dining room. There's no Bollywood kitsch or garish colours – just clean lines and simplicity.
Original, aromatic, and lightly spiced dishes are the feature here. Seafood is a common theme in Aki's menu and head chef Kumar Mahadevan said that he tries to make the most of Sydney's fresh produce. One of the most famous dishes, says Mahadevan, is the palak chaat, which has been on the menu of his restaurants for 20 years!
All the meals aim to be unique and exciting. The signature entree is spiced crab with brown rice string hoppers and coconut broth. The lamb martaba is baked slowly in a clay pot and then the bread seal is broken at the table to reveal the streaming hot pickled spices and tomato dish inside. And to finish off, there's cardamom and pistachio kulfi ice cream – teamed with rosewater, ground spice and a berry coulis.
The chef and owner of Aki's is the talented Kumar Mahadevan. In an interview with Lifestyle FOOD Kumar said that he wanted to be a chef from as early as he can remember, and grew up cooking with his mother and grandmother. Mahadevan said that he aims for a balance between Indian traditions and contemporary techniques.
Aki's works hard to bring exciting food in a gorgeous setting and has been rewarded with both a Chef's Hat and Wine Glass by the SMH Good Food Guide 2014. In fact, it is the only Indian restaurant in Australia to have been awarded this prestigious honour. Mahadevan explained that it was a high honour for him because at the time of opening, in 2003, it was considered very risky to be opening a fine dining Indian restaurant when it is a style of food that is usually associated with take away.
Aki's manages to marry the traditional spices of India with delicate and truly unique dishes. It's accolades speak for themselves, marking it as one of Sydney's most exciting restaurants.