Itihaas, meaning "History" in Hindi is an Indian restaurant on Church Street in Parramatta. The menu is a mix of Northern and Southern Indian cuisine and doesn't hold back on flavour with rich, spicy curries, flavoursome biryanis and wonderful roomali breads.
What to do when one of your favourite Indian restaurants is about an hour's drive away? Well you plan a special lunch with your good friends. It all started when Parramatta Council asked me to create some reels and photos to highlight of some of the local restaurants affected by the light rail construction.
I chose Itihaas because I adore Indian food and it was so delicious when Laura and I visited to make the reels, that every time we visited Parramatta afterwards we would pop in to get some takeaway to take home to eat later.
It's a couple of weeks later that we are having Sunday lunch with Ahana and Saagar. It's quiet when we first sit down but starts to fill a bit later around 2pm. We start with some drinks, a mango mocktail for Ahana and Mr NQN which is a carbonated drink with thick mango syrup in it. I order a pineapple and coconut mocktail while Saagar has a rose lassi which is sweet but the most delicious drink of them all.
They bring out some pappadums with finely diced onion, tomatoes and herbs to snack on while waiting on the rest of the food.
Ananas Paneer Tikka $15.90
Service is more perfunctory than warm but the food arrives in a timely manner. The pineapple paneer tikka is squares of tandoori baked paneer or cottage cheese, onions, peppers marinated with pineapple and spices. It's not bad although I do find the pineapple a little jarring with the paneer.
Beet Kachori $9.90
The beet kachori is an enormous deep fried beetroot shell filled with mung sprouts, potatoes, chickpeas and mint yoghurt served with mango ginger chutney. It's tangy, sweet and crunchy and Saagar expertly smashes it up to serve.
Eral Poriyal $16.50
The Eral Poriyal is a Chettinad style prawn dish with tiger prawns marinated in South Indian spices, lightly battered and fried with a spiced yogurt sauce on the side. This comes out on a miniature "Char Pai" which is type of bed. "Char" means four and "pai" means legs.
With Indian food, Ahana and Saagar explain that you usually order the starters and eat them and then go on to ordering mains so once we've eaten the starters we go ahead and order the mains. And while I like the starters, I think the mains are where the real action is at.
Kadak Goat $19.90
There are two goat curries on the menu and we went with the one recommended to us. It is bone-in goat pieces with chilli, turmeric, pepper and coriander. It is wonderfully intense with a wonderful depth of flavour. It's spicy and gorgeously rich without being too creamy or heavy.
Chicken Biryani $19.90
The chicken biryani is layers of soft chicken and spiced basmati rice, fried sweet onions with a buryani salan sauce. It is very generous in chicken and it is perfectly spiced and fragrant in saffron and not dry at all thanks to the buryani salan base.
Prawn Hara Masala $23.00
This is the curry that Laura and I absolutely adore. There are three seafood curries on the menu and one had barramundi which I am allergic to and the other one has capsicum which Laura is allergic to so this was the only one we could eat which ends up being rather fortunate. The king prawns are battered and deep fried like the Eral Poriyal above but then the green chilli, mint and coconut cream based sauce is incredible. It's almost light and fluffy in texture and all you need to do is tear off a piece of roomali bread and scoop up some sauce with it. Heaven.
You may not have seem roomali much before, it's certainly new to me and I don't often see it on menus but it's absolutely worth seeking out. It's a folded up buttered (or ghee'd) flatbread that when you unfold and is so thin you can almost see through it.
Saagar and Ahana show us videos of this bread being made and they cook it on an upturned wok. It's perfect for eating curries with especially if you are using your hands.
Chatpate Aloo Baingan $16.90
We had one vegetarian curry and I'm glad that we did because the Chatpate Aloo Baingan or potato and baby eggplant curry ends up being one of my favourite curries. The potatoes have a wonderful texture to them and the eggplant's creamy, melty texture contrasts well with the perfectly cooked potatoes. In fact I offered to pick Laura up some curry and I got her the prawn curry, a roomali and this potato and eggplant curry as I knew that she would love it.
Olives, Cheese and Garlic Naan $5.50
My love for cheese means that I always have to order the cheese naan but here they have a version combining garlic (another love of mine), cheese and black olives and it's divine.
Peshwari Naan $5.00
Ahana explains that Peshwari naan comes from Peshawar in Pakistan. I always order this naan for Mr NQN as he is such a profound sweets lover. It is filled with desiccated coconut and dried fruit. Alas there is no room for dessert so that is the sweet note that we finish on.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a favourite Indian restaurant? Have you ever tried roomali? What type of naan do you usually order?
This meal was independently paid for.
325 Church St, Parramatta New South Wales 2150
Monday & Tuesday 5–10pm
Wednesday to Sunday 12–3pm, 5–10pm