Malabar South Indian Restaurant, Darlinghurst

I love to hear about other restaurateurs and how they got their start in the food business. When I was invited to check out Malabar South Indian Restaurant recently, I had the opportunity to talk to the owner and head chef, Mohammed Sali.

These are some things I found out –

  • Mohammed is a classically trained chef (unlike self-taught yours truly) and had worked in 5-star hotels in Chennai and the Emirates before landing in Australia in 1997.

  • He opened Malabar Darlinghurst in 2003 and served four customers on his first night. Since that humble beginning business has grown so much he’s recently moved into new, bigger premises a few shops down.

  • His original menu consisted only of South Indian dishes, but from day one customers complained about the absence of Butter Chicken and other North Indian favourites, so he’s had to adapt his menu to keep them happy. I totally sympathize.

  • He works seven days at the restaurant and to this day he still goes to Flemington Markets every morning to select the fresh produce himself.

  • The only time off he gets is one or two weeks a year when he goes back to South India to visit his elderly parents.

  • His menu is designed so that no two dishes taste the same. Based on the meal I had, I can confirm that is the case. Every dish was distinctly different, and every dish was top notch.
Tandoori Chicken Tikka and Patti Samosas

Tandoori Chicken Tikka and Patti Samosas

Mellagu Prawns

Mellagu Prawns



Various other delicious offerings

Various other delicious offerings

naan bread and rice

Naan bread and rice 

Highlight of the meal - Spinach Chaat - spinach leaves battered and fried, and served with yoghurt and a tamarind date sauce

Highlight of the meal – Spinach Chaat – spinach leaves battered and fried, and served with yoghurt and a tamarind date sauce 

Mohammed can often be seen chatting with his customers in the dining room; make sure you say hello if you drop in, and tell him Jackie M sent you 🙂

The new Malabar is located at 1/274 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst.
Fully licensed. BYO wine only.
Reservations: 61 2 9332 1755 
Trading Hours. Open for Lunch Wed – Sun 12-2.30 pm and Dinner Monday-Sunday
5.30 to 10.30 pm Email: 

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