Saravanaa Bhavan arrives in Sydney

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By Vijay Badhwar

Now there is a genuine genuine South Indian restaurant right in the heart of Parramatta, albeit only a short distance from the dhaba belt of Harris Park. Hotel Saravanaa Bhavan, a well-known name in South Indian cuisine in India and on an international level, has now arrived at 99 Phillip Street Parramatta.

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The owner-chef of the world-famous chain, Shiva is joined by IIM graduate Shekhar Mani to take Indian cuisine to the next level ”“ from self-taught chefs to professionals who have learnt the fine art of cooking and the intricacies of traditional ingredients that were once part of secret recipes evolved over a multitude of centuries.

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Less than a fortnight old, but the word has already spread as there are large queues outside on the raised foyer of the commercial building that houses the Bhavan. The decor is not loud; rather well-designed to complement the openness of the large glass facade that opens up in an outdoor seating space to accommodate 167 patrons in the restaurant.

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The menu is exhaustive with virtually all the popular South Indian meals available ”“ from idlies to sambhar vadas, many types of dosas and uttapams, coconut and tomato chutneys that have a bite. Not yet introduced are the thalis and a large selection of sweets, although a few including the halwa is available.

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We share the many dishes ordered among the group. The taste is genuine and a food connoisseur can discern the subtle difference in dhaba cooking and a world-famous chain. The specialised South Indian food places in Sydney that come close are the Helensburgh Temple and the Woodlands in Liverpool. The prices are reasonable, almost the same as one would pay at any other street eatery.

Sarvanaa Bhavan is licensed, a major departure from the Indian chain, and the list of wines is exhaustive. Our next visit is not far away.

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