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 South Indian Spiced Duck pate, was absolutely stunning. Rich, luxurious and spiced to perfection, it was served with a textural brussel sprout mustard achar and black cardamom ghee naan.
To follow, the Kashmiri dum aloo, was similarly delicious, a stunning ISH specialty of fried potato dumplings (similar to pillow soft gnocchi), saag puree, popped lentils and dried cherry tomatoes. It was a very sophisticated dish that showcased both flavours and textural elements.
For mains we adored each of the curries we had. The dish of Seared king mushroom, moilee curry was a particular standout. Plump slices of mushroom were beautifully seared, and served in a sea of beautiful yellow curry broth that was dominated by turmeric, mustard seeds, coconut milk and whole spices and boasted heirloom cherry tomatoes, seaweed and snow peas. It was a crowd favourite which had us fighting for the last morsel.
For seafood lovers, we recommend the Crusted Spanich Mackerel ghassi curry with young coconut and samphire. A balanced and rich curry that featured exceedingly fresh fish and boasted a wonderful depth of flavour thanks to the generous use of spices. Together with the accompanying flaky paratha, this was an addictive and comforting dish.
Side dishes at ISH deserve a mention too. The roasted carrot was far from your usual side, lacking due attention and love, this dish instead was cooked to perfection, beautifully charred and topped with coriander seeds and fenugreek jiggery – a great addition to our mains.
Dessert time showcased the kitchen's versatility. The Chai gelato was simply perfect. Creamy and luxurious and served with crumbly ginger cookies, masala puffs, and honey raisin compote.
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