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HOT: Agra Indian Cuisine, 79 James St, New Farm

Once a month, nurse a group of misfits I’ve known for a couple of years now descend upon a chosen local Indian restaurant for a night of beer and banter over a few hot curries and typical Indian accompaniments.  Our common appreciation for Indian cuisine brings us together for a feast of medieval proportions!  The most recent gathering was held at a fairly new establishment, erectile Agra in the very popular James St precinct.

I must admit I do pity the venues that have to contend with our often 20+ strong crowd.    On this drizzly night the punters arrived with intent as the poor traffic conditions had kept most of us from getting to the pre-dinner watering hole in time.  We were wet, sales thirsty, and most of all hungry.  The look of fear in the eyes of the Agra staff was slightly amusing to most of us, but in a random act of kindness we played nice and gave them time to compose themselves before making our demands.

As we generally do curry once a month, I like to mix my choices up a bit and look for different menu items to what I might have sampled the previous time.  It’s always nice to see new and creative dishes in Indian restaurants and Agra came through with the goods.

For an entrée I opted for the Kashmiri prawns and shared them with MM.  They were quite pricey ($18) but that’s not out of the ordinary when it comes to seafood dishes.  The prawns were shelled except for the heads and tails and they looked to have been baked in the mildly spicy and creamy Kashmiri marinade and they really were delicious.  MM and I were a little disappointed however as there were only 5 prawns to share; a couple more might have been a nice touch.

Agra Indian Cuisine, 79 James St, New Farm

To my left was something new – E was devouring his entrée choice of Kaveri Kekra – shallow fried soft shell crabs in a lightly spicy batter ($18).  The little crab legs didn’t stand a chance and somehow I managed to get his approval to sample the goods.  The batter was nice and light and the spices were perfectly balanced with the tasty flesh of the sand crab.

Agra Indian Cuisine, 79 James St, New Farm

My main meal was another new one which didn’t disappoint.  The Kadai Murgh (served medium) is grilled chicken sautéed with cumin, coriander and a rich red masala, cooked in a classic Indian wok (the Kadai).  This dish ($16) wasn’t heavy at all (which appealed to my sensitive stomach) and the combination of flavours was pleasant.  Perhaps not greatly varied from the familiar flavours in a Tikka dish, but it held its own and I enjoyed dipping my sizeable Peshawari naan ($5) in the left over sauce.

Agra Indian Cuisine, 79 James St, New Farm

MM had the Chicken Makni ($16) which makes a regular appearance on the menus around town.  This dish consists of boneless chicken pieces marinated and half baked in the Tandoor then cooked in a cream and butter sauce with hints of fenugreek.  No complaints from the other side of the table and I wasn’t quick enough to get a taste.

The service at Agra was a little on the slow side – but I suspect for a party of 4 or so it would’ve been very attentive.  They did exceptionally well to cater to the needs of the 22 curry fanatics and they kept the smiles on their faces throughout the whole ordeal.

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