You’ll find Indii Flavours on O’Connell Street, next to the North Adelaide Endota Spa. The restaurant’s frontage – and primo outdoor seating area – is flanked by trees in half wine barrels and branded black windbreakers. All of this has been designed to protect guests from the cars which hum up and down the street.
The road’s still busy, of course, but O’Connell used to be there where’s where of Adelaide dining precincts. The area’s now-daggy pizza parlours, and cafes serving bowl lattes remain surprisingly busy.
But Indii Flavours is a nod to Adelaide’s changing appetites. It’s a warm, tastefully decorated dining room with a temperature-controlled cellar and waiters in button-down shirts. Indii flavours is a world away from the tapestried walls and blaring Bollywood songs which, during the 90 and early 2000’s, became Australia’s textbook interpretation of an Indian restaurant.
Indii Flavours began life in Clare Valley as Indii of Clare, before branching into the city in 2019. Owner Sabby Soodan also started Hunky Dory Wines and My Better Half wines. You can try both of these at both restaurants. Hunky Dory’s fun, drink-now approach is perfectly suited to the kind of tarted-up Indian food that Indii Flavours serves.
We’re loathe to talk about “elevated versions” of classic dishes. To do so would disregard the majestic pleasure of that Australian-famous hangover cure: curry house butter chicken and cheesy garlic naan. But the food at Indii Flavours certainly isn’t run of the mill. That is to say, there’s no thermonuclear-orange caldrons of oversweet sauce; no endlessly customisable range of base dishes for which to add chicken, lamb or prawns.
Rather, chef Rupesh Agrawal’s dishes offer unexpected vibrancy, and textural complexity. Individual spices sing, unmasked by chilli, pomegranate jewels stud each fluffy bowl of pilau, and specific cuts of meat are cooked on the bone – ensuring maximum flavour and tenderness.
The menu is mostly made up of Mughlai dishes, so expect kormas, rogan josh, biryani and tandoor meats. There are also some decent renditions of various South Indian street snacks like burger-esque vada pav, and refreshing pani puri.
Sure, you could choose from the a la carte menu, which is long enough to suit most tastes. But the best way to dine at Indii Flavours is to trust the waitstaff. Let them know any likes/dislikes and they won’t miss a beat sending just the right amount of food, and somehow nailing exactly what you felt like.
End with a kulfi, or ice cream. Every flavour is great, but we particularly love the betel leaf version. Trusted in Indian medicine to aid digestion, this glossy, heart-shaped leaf also offers a pleasing pepperiness, acting more as a palate cleanser than full-blown desert.