Shahi Dining

Jackie McMillan
2nd Oct 2023

In Rouse Hill, people with Indian ancestry make up 8.2 per cent of the population: well above the NSW (3.2%) and Australian (3.1%) figures. All communities need places to celebrate, and for the Indian diaspora in Rouse Hill, Shahi Dining clearly fills that niche. It’s a large restaurant complete with multiple private dining rooms. It will be interesting to see how a second branch of this authentically Indian restaurant works in nearby Windsor. Here, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 census data tells us more than 95 per cent of people continue to define their ancestry as English, Australian, Scottish or Irish. Food and film are often the first bridges between cultures.  

Set in the middle of a car park in a flat building that has a strong 1980s Pizza Hut vibes, the interior of Windsor’s Shahi Dining is surprisingly sumptuous. There’s a golden mirrored bar, gleaming marble floors, ornate chandelier-style lights, and comfortable high-backed brown leatherette chairs. The interior renovation unfortunately stopped short of the bathrooms: something to be rectified in the future. 

While there is a well-priced lunch menu offering up dishes like chole bhature ($19.90) — a spicy chickpea curry with puffy, oval-shaped fried bread — you can also dabble daytime from the dinner menu. The blandly named ‘non-veg platter’ ($44/2 people) provides opportunity to sample across juicy chicken tikka, flavoursome, hand-shaped tubes of seekh kebab, and well-charred fatty spring lamb cutlets, all sizzling over sweet cabbage (you eat that too) on a cast-iron platter. Hold onto the mint raita that comes with the complimentary pappadum for dipping purposes. The vibrant green herb is also put to good effect in an icy lemon and mint juice ($9.90): perfect for a hot day. And if you still worry Indian food is too heavy for hot weather, cool down first with papri chaat ($14.90) where fried crackers, boiled chickpeas and potato pieces are lashed with yoghurt and chutneys. It’s a street food party in your mouth and great fun against India’s Kingfisher beer ($9).