Yo! India Resto Bar is a newly opened authentic Indian restaurant located on Morphett Street in the CBD. Adelaide Food Central was generously invited to sample some of the Indian delights on offer. Part owner Ash informed us that the name, albeit a little out of the ordinary for an Indian restaurant, was chosen to reflect the restaurant’s contemporary vibe, with the aim to attract some of the younger inhabitants of Adelaide. Yo! India offers a menu bursting with authentic Indian dishes with the option to dine in or takeaway, and to set itself apart from other such restaurants has a large adjoining function area ideal for birthday celebrations, parties and other such corporate events. The restaurant alone can comfortably seat around eighty people and has a modern and spacious fit out boasting cream and brown neutral toned furnishings.
To begin our Indian feast we shared three entrées. The first of these (and my favourite of the three) were the Vegetable Pakoras containing cauliflower, spinach, onion and potato mixed together with spices, deep fried and served with mint chutney. These pakoras were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. What I loved most about the pakoras was not only did they taste delicious but they were jam-packed full of hearty vegetables. Who knew veggies could taste this good! The mint chutney was light, creamy and refreshing offering a nice contrast to the spices used to flavour the pakoras.
Up next was the Chicken Tikka served with mint chutney. This dish consisted of boneless chicken pieces marinated in a blend of yoghurt, spices and tandoori masala. Whilst I am accustomed to tandoori chicken I was surprised to learn that chicken tikka is essentially a boneless version of tandoori chicken and is cooked in a tandoor in much the same way. The chicken was a little on the dry side (likely due to the tandoor cooking process), however it was aptly infused with all of the lovely aromatic spices used in the marinade and even offered a decent chilli kick. Again the mint chutney complemented the flavourings used on the chicken perfectly. The thing I love about Indian cuisine is how seamlessly the condiments, albeit simplistic, meld with, and at the same time further heighten the spices used in each and every dish.
Cocktail Samosas served with tamarind chutney was the last of the entrées. These were relatively large fried triangular parcels filled with spiced potato and sautéed peas. The pastry shell had a deep golden hue which resulted in a wonderful crispness that contrasted against the soft and flavourful spiced vegetables on the inside. Importantly the samosas weren’t greasy despite being deep fried. The tamarind chutney with its exotic sweet yet tangy flavour was a great accompaniment to these Indian ‘pasties’.
Yo! India offer a vast selection of twenty five odd curries (both meat and vegetarian alternatives) and hence we struggled to keep our selection down to just a few. We did, however, manage to choose a curry including each of the essential proteins; chicken, lamb and beef. We started off with a classic mild Indian curry, Butter Chicken, consisting of chicken pieces cooked in a tomato-based sauce with butter, cream, cashew nuts and spices. You can never go wrong with butter chicken and Yo! India was no exception. The chicken pieces were tender and well-cooked and the sauce itself was full of flavour without being spicy. Butter chicken is a great curry for the whole family and of course for those who don’t like (or can’t tolerate) spicy foods.
Our second choice was the Lamb Korma with a creamy ground cashew nut sauce. The lamb, just like the chicken, was well-cooked and importantly lean with no signs of fat or sinew; a feature of a good quality curry.
The star of the show for me was the Beef Madras, a curry comprising cubes of meat cooked in a rich coconut sauce flavoured with mustard seeds and curry leaves. The beef was perfectly tender and fell apart as I ate it, whilst the sauce was deliciously creamy. I particularly loved the textural element that the mustard seeds afforded to the dish.
Even though our curries weren’t hot (chilli wise that is) I still thoroughly enjoyed adding some Raita. The yoghurt with finely chopped cucumber and roasted cumin powder added a freshness to each mouthful that helped to cut through the richness of the curries. Now we couldn’t forget the other necessary accompaniment to an Indian curry… naan bread. You just can’t have a curry without some yummy naan bread to mop up all the excess curry sauce (this is by far my most enjoyed part of eating Indian food). We shared the Naan Basket containing one each of the plain, garlic and cheese naan. Importantly, the naan at Yo! India wasn’t oily, was of a good thickness (not too thick, not too thin but just right) and had a nice crispy, bubbly, charred top; just like all good naan should!
Now I am no stranger to Indian cuisine, but I must admit I have never had biryani, a traditional rice dish made with spices and meat or mixed vegetables. I generally order saffron rice, but on this particular occasion the lovely waitress convinced us to try the biryani at Yo! India and who were we to disagree. Given that we ordered three meat curries we opted for the Vegetable Biryani. Out to the table came what appeared to be some sort of pie, but to our surprise beneath a naan bread ‘pastry’ top was the rice mixture. The waitress informed us that this was the traditional way to serve biryani. The biryani can be considered a meal in itself and can get quite filling, as we discovered all too late. The rice was flavoured by a delicious blend of spices and was perfectly light and fluffy, whilst the vegetables were plentiful. It is definitely a dish worth trying if you have the opportunity. Indian cuisine is certainly one that caters for the vegetarians amongst us, with the Vegetable Biryani being a prime example of this.
Being the sweet tooths that we are we tried all three desserts offered on the menu. The Gulab Jamun are small, deep fried milk-based balls soaked in a sugary syrup flavoured with cardamom, saffron and rose water. What I liked about these particular Gulab Jamun’s was the fact that they weren’t sickly sweet, instead the sugar syrup was lightly sweetened allowing the cardamom flavour to shine through.
We also sampled both the Pistachio Kulfi and Mango Kulfi. These homemade Indian ‘ice creams’ were light and creamy and tasted exactly like what they should, pistachio and mango. In actual fact the mango one tasted just like eating a frozen mango. The pistachio one even incorporated small pieces of pistachio nut adding a textural element. Just a little hint, these frozen treats are a match made in heaven when combined with the scrumptious Gulab Jamun morsels!
The staff at Yo India! were delightfully friendly and very helpful when it came to dish suggestions. I really appreciate when staff take their time to explain different dishes to you, especially when it is a cuisine you aren’t necessarily familiar with. The prices at Yo! India are just as pleasing, with entrées starting at $7.50, curries $18 – $20.50 for meat or $11.50 – $14.50 for vegetarian, naan $3 – $5 (or our mixed basket of three for $9) and biryani $12.50 – $14.50. If you are in the market for some tasty, affordable authentic Indian cuisine and want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the east end of the city, come and visit Ash and his team at Yo! India Resto Bar for lunch (Wednesday to Sunday 11:30am – 2:30pm) or dinner (Monday to Sunday 5:00 – 10:00pm); they say “west is best” right?!
Adelaide Food Central would like to sincerely thank Ash, and of course his friendly team, for welcoming us into his new restaurant and for providing us with a delicious Indian meal. All food on the night was provided free of charge.
Words by Kelly Betterman
WHERE: 222 Morphett St, Adelaide