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Old Monk Modern Indian Bridges Classic and Contemporary at its Newly Open Paddington Home 

By George Hadgelias
The diversification of Brisbane’s Indian food scene continues with the opening of Old Monk Modern Indian. Perched on the cusp of Paddington and Rosalie, Old Monk looks to redefine Indian cooking by amalgamating traditional tastes with inventive quirks. We’re talking vegan butter chicken, gold-leaf-topped gulab jamun and traces of sizzling Indo-Chinese fusion. Give it a look …
Naming your restaurant after a rum brand might strike some as an odd choice, but Old Monk isn’t just any rum. One of the biggest Indian-made liquors on the market, this dark, vanilla-laced libation has earned its cult following thanks largely to word-of-mouth praise – the kind of feedback that usually cements any product as a perennial favourite. Brothers and hospitality veterans Karan and Kunal Sood picked the distinctly Indian drop as the namesake for their brand-new Paddington restaurant as an ode to the iconic flavours of their home country, but Old Monk Modern Indianmight soon share the same viva voce virality as its namesake thanks to the quality of its offering alone. The restaurant opened on Friday April 22 on Baroona Road, a naan toss from the entrance to the Blue Room Cinebar. Those cruising by will likely spy the vibrant pink neon emanating from the 50-seater venue’s interior (itself awash with colour courtesy of the lights, furniture and decorative elements) – an attractive lure that, when followed, rewards the curious with a menu that delivers India on a plate, tweaked for Brisbane tastes.Karan, Kunal and Old Monk’s head chef and co-owner Nirav Prajapati are seeking to showcase a funkier form of contemporary Indian, respecting the traditional foundations of regional classics but modernising them to reflect their own tastes. The trio aren’t shying away from unconventional twists, evident early with smashable starters like Indo-Chinese style cauliflower bitespinwheel samosaskale-and-spinach pakodas, and wasabi pea and avocado bhel. Old Monk’s array of large, share-style plates include appetising options such as South Indian-inspired fish moileeHimachali-style slow-cooked goat on the bone, Goan fish curry and lamb-shank korma. Perhaps one of Old Monk’s biggest selling points is its lengthy list of vegan and vegetarian dishes, which is headlined by vegan butter chicken (the recipe of which was a result of months of research and development), shadi wale matar mushroom (a beloved dish at Indian weddings) and Old Delhi-style chana masala. Rounding out the offering are artfully presented desserts like the golden gulkand gulab jamun (which are topped with edible gold leaf) and sides including rotinaan and lachha paratha. The Old Monk crew is in the process of obtaining a liquor licence. Once secured, expect the immediate debut of a beverage menu featuring wines from Indian, domestic and international beers and a cocktail list featuring roughly nine concoctions made using Indian spirits – yes, including Old Monk rum. Until then, guests can BYO or slurp on masala soda with boondi, house-made lassi, iced tea and mango and chilli virgin margaritas.Old Monk Modern Indian is now open to the public on Baroona Road – operating hours and contact details can be found in the Stumble Guide.CLICK HERE for more information.
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