Pakistani and Indian cuisine is somewhat of a new comer to my palate. Indeed, curries didn’t really feature much in my diet until the last few years. We whet our palate with the sweeter curries in Japan laden with potato and hunks of meat, before Malaysian and Thai restaurants became a somewhat regular haunt as I started my new job. Then, N and T discovered Paradise Biryani and their version of butter chicken had me converted.
So these days, I’m much more open to the idea of eating curries. Even in non-descript places like Faheem Fast Food.
The name, Faheem Fast Food, doesn’t market itself as a dinner destination, and neither do the metal chairs stained with curry. N, however, is a regular here, so D and I agree to join her and T.
This is the aloo gosht ($12) — ‘diced beef cooked with potatoes, oriental herbs and spices’. I love potato in my curries, but unfortunately, this one was a disappointment. The hunks were huge, as if they found the waxiest potatoes and quartered them and dropped three of those quarters into the bowl, barely cooked and soaking up none of the curry. The diced beef was tender, but I expected more from a beef curry. As for the curry itself, we felt it lacked the bold and distinct flavours we’re used to in Indian curries.
Next up, never to pass up on eggplant, is the aloo baigan ($11) — ‘eggplant and potatoes cooked with tomato, variety of medium spices and herbs’. If the potatoes made the aloo gosht a disappointment, it was repeated here, but all the more so, because it was also sorely lacking in eggplant — most of it had turned to mush, and we could only spot two pieces of eggplant skin — and padded up with mushy green capsicum. Potatoes aside, I’d have liked the curry more without the capsicum and with eggplant that had actual bite.
Our third curry is the butter chicken ($12) — ‘marinated boneless chicken fillets cooked in Tandoor and mixed with creamy tomato sauce’.
The butter chicken here is nothing like the one at Paradise Biryani. From an episode where Heston Blumethal heads to India for research into creating the ‘perfect butter chicken’, the version at Faheems would be the more authentic Indian version; the version at Paradise Biryani is something you find only in the West.
That said, I’m going to compare the two anyway — the one at Faheems is tangier without the sweetness or creaminess of the one at Paradise Biryani. The chicken pieces weren’t many but they did soak up some flavour from the curry. But again, what’s with the capsicum floating around the bowl?
The star of the dinner was probably the chicken tikka ($13 for four pieces). It was quite spicy — spicier and with more heat and flavour than any of the curries. And that was the overall impression of the curries — they lacked flavour and all tasted much the same.
We go with naans ($2.50 each) to dip in the curries rather than rice. These were quite doughy and dense, which N liked. I’d have preferred them a bit lighter.
A mint yoghurt salad is complementary, but the curries lacked heat to really need cooling yoghurt.
Anticipating spicier and hotter curries, we try their mango lassi ($4.50) — ‘traditional Indian cool yoghurt, sugar with mango’. It tastes as you’d expect mango yoghurt, nothing amazing.
Overall, D and I were disappointed with our experience at Faheem Fast Food. They say it’s as authentic as you can get Indian and Pakistani food in Sydney — and a major haunt for taxi drivers — so maybe we just don’t have the palate for authentic Indian and Pakistani food.
Faheem Fast Food is located at 194 – 196 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042.