Hanuman is a Darwin dining institution. First opening in 1992, it moved to its current location in the Holiday Inn Esplanade in 2007.
Hanuman and its sister restaurants in Cairns and Alice Springs are owned by Sri Lankan born Jimmy Shu. Jimmy owns, and still works in, many restaurants, including Isthmus of Kra and Monsoon in Melbourne.
Hanuman Darwin serves Thai, Indian and Nonya food in a huge, but gorgeous space. The restaurant seats 180 people, 90 inside and 90 on its outside decking area.
J and I were booked for 7pm on the Monday night we were in Darwin, and when I booked I was asked if we wanted to be inside or outside and I requested outside.
When we arrived we spotted the bar style seating at the windows and asked the waitress if we could sit there. She agreed and sat us there instead of against the wall where we were supposed to sit.
This is part of the outside dining area.
This is the view from where we sat.
I think you will agree that this was a nicer seat than against the back wall.
We started with a cocktail each. J had a mojito and I had a bubbles concoction (can’t remember the name of it and what was in it, and their cocktail list isn’t online).
The menu at Hanuman is quite extensive and there were lots of yummy sounding choices. We decided to order a few different dishes to share.
We started with three small plates.
The nonya satay beef marinated with lemongrass, cracked cumin & coriander seed served with a roasted peanut & tamarind sauce.
The bombay pakoras of spiced, chickpea flour bound vegetables, crisp fried with yoghurt
And the nonya pork rolls flavoured with chinese five spice and wrapped in bean curd sheet
My favourite out of the three was the satay, beautiful tender beef with a perfectly balanced sauce. I liked that the sauce was served separately, as this allowed you to have as much or as little as you wanted.
J’s favourite was the pork rolls, not only were they tasty but they were a bit different as well.
We ordered a bottle of Pike’s Riesling.
For mains we had beef vindaloo (slowly cooked with fragrant spices of cinnamon, clove & fennel) and the chicken masala (cooked in a rich sauce of tomato, red onion and dried chilli). We also ordered a steamed rice and a raita (refreshing mix of yoghurt and diced tomato and cucumber).
All really good, but I was full and couldn’t eat as much as I would have liked!
And I confess, I have lost my mojo for hot foods. The vindaloo was too hot for me.
I would normally have loved this dish but I can’t seem to handle heat as much as I used too. J seems to have gone the opposite and can handle more heat than he used to.
The restaurant was 98% full by this time. Service had slowed down a little as it got busier but the staff were friendly.