ISH brings a contemporary take on Indian cuisine to Fitzroy's Gertrude street. The restaurant occupies two floors and is edgy and oh so cool. The interior is slick and modern with exposed brick and an eye catching bar which dominates the ground floor dining area.
In line with its social setting, the menu is designed to share and is separated into three self explanatory parts - "Peckish", "Moreish" and "Famished".
To start the free range chicken tikka was delicious. Wonderfully spiced tandoori chicken was served with caramelised onions and a creamy roasted garlic ‘burrani’ yoghurt.
The Tandoori lamb cutlets were similarly delicious, a stunning ISH specialty of carefully marinated and charred spiced lamb cutlets. The cutlets were wonderfully tender having been roasted to perfection in the Tandoor and served atop a luxurious dill and turnip mash.
For mains we adored each of the curries we had. The dish of butter-poached scallops was a particular standout. Plump, exceedingly fresh and lightly seared, they were served in a sea of beautiful yellow curry broth that was dominated by turmeric, mustard seeds, coconut milk and whole spices. It was a crowd favourite which had us fighting for the last morsel.
For something heartier, we recommend the slow cooked home-style kerala beef curry. A South Indian coconut ‘moillee’ curry, this was a full-bodied, pungent curry that featured melt-in-your-mouth morsels of pulled beef and boasted a great richness thanks to the generous use of spices. Together with the accompanying flaky malabari parantha, this was an addictive and comforting dish.
Dessert time showcased the kitchen's versatility. You can't go wrong with either of the options here. The Saffron sago pearl pudding was velvety and topped with jaggery praline and mixed nuts. For chocolate lovers, ISH's deconstructed chocolate mess will have you singing.
ISH is not your typical Indian restaurant. And guess what? It ain’t trying to be. Expect dishes that have been carefully created, paying homage to Indian flavours but with a contemporary edge and using ingredients not usually associated with Indian food. It's exciting stuff.
Location: 199 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Phone: 0413 895 143