Nirankar (Invited)

Friday, June 09, 2017 Sharon Halim 0 Comments

Nirankar has been opened for 22 years, recently bought by Neupane Hospitality Group and underwent a massive renovation. They have a brand new menu focusing on Indian and Nepalese cuisine.  Nirankar has a wide space of 120 people making it  perfect venue for functions. 

We went to Nirankar on a cold Monday night and the place was a little difficult to find in the relative darkness of Queen Street. The restaurant sign blinked on and off in front of us and we entered. The interiors inside the restaurant too, were quite dark with maroon wallpapers and dark upholstery.

We started off with some pappadums which are these plate-shaped, thin crisps that we dipped in our choice of either mint-yoghurt or tamarind dippings. The pappadums were a good start to the night, crispy and simply seasoned, they were very addictive.

Samosa. A well-done traditional samosa. These large samosas had peas and potatoes as their fillings, and I liked the savouriness and the slight crispness of the samosa skin. They are pretty big though, so it is a pretty heavy appetizers. The garnish go well the samosa. Eaten on its own, it is too potato-ey, like overtly thick mash potato with no cream. However, when I ate it the recommended way, with the minty condiments, I loved it. The way I see it, the main dishes are not papadam and samosa with condiments. But the condiments themselves are the stars, and papadam and samosa are just different ways to accentuates these condiments.

Next, we were served a platter of Chicken Mint Tikka.  I think it is charred to perfection, but they are not moist as I expected. At the beginning, I asked them to make it mild, and for me, personally, this is the en pointe level of spiciness. Although I couldn’t really taste any hints of mint, I could distinctly taste the charcoal-grilled, smokiness of chicken in the dish and I really enjoyed this. It just needs a little more salt in my opinion.

Tadkadahl. Essentially, a lentil dahl or stew. The tadkadahl was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. It was a strange combination of both a Western taste of butteriness, and the aromatic feel of Indian cuisine. As I tasted it, the flavours were truly, overpoweringly, like melted butter. I’m not sure whether if it’s vegan - but I would definitely feast on this if I’m vegan and desperately craving butter. I wasn’t a big fan of the overall taste as it was too rich for me. I would’ve liked some light textures and flavours to just cut through the richness of it all.

Chicken Pistachio Korma. A typical, well-seasoned Korma. Unlike the chicken tikka served as our appetizers, the chicken here is still moist and tender. The curry sauce was very rich and it went well with the plainness of the naan they served us. I was really excited about the pistachio twist in this korma, but unfortunately, I couldn’t really taste it. But it’s still a reasonably good korma. I can definitely see the pistachio, crumble on top, but it is overpowered by the sauce/curry. Having said that, the sauce was rock solid, the chicken was tender. This is the classical form of Chicken Korma at its purest.

Peas Pilaf. The pilaf really looked like Chinese fried rice - it tastes nothing of it though. It’s just essentially rice mixed in with a lot of peas, raisins and nuts. If they had added more raisins and less peas, I think it would’ve made the pilaf a little more interesting. I liked the rice, especially the raisins. It gives a fresh hint of sweetness to balance the heavy creaminess and savoriness from everything else. Personally, I would put more raisin. I also tasted nuts, which was a nice touch, giving it a distinct texture. 

Gulab Jamun-Sweet milk dumplings in rosewater syrup. I didn’t enjoy this desert very much unfortunately. I was expecting it to be crisp as it was described as being fried. I know that it was also dunked in rosewater syrup for a while, but I would’ve liked tiny hints of crispness as the dumplings essentially just tasted of soggy and springy dougnuts. I couldn’t really taste the rosewater syrup either.

Mango Lassi. I am so grateful I ordered this because it's the perfect accompaniment to all the curries. The tartness and freshness of the lassi perfectly cuts into the heavy, spice-laden curries I had. Would come back here just for this lassi!

In the end we went home with a full stomach since they gave us plenty of dish with generous portions. We do think they need to fix the light up front, to improve the restaurant images from the front part.

Nirankar Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

174 Queen St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Monday-Thursday: 12pm-3pm & 5.30pm-10.30pm
Friday-Saturday: 5,30pm-10.30pm
Sunday: Closed