Once back in Sydney, I googled around for a vegetarian dinner option in Surry Hills. I thought I'd hit on something new with Maya Vegetarian, but the other blog posts listed below revealed that it was just new to us. There are several Maya Indian restaurants clustered together on Cleveland St, and at number 470 you'll find an all-vegetarian menu and a display case stacked with sweets.
The setting is casual and comfortable - you need to order at a counter and fetch your own water, but food is delivered to the freshly-wiped tables and there are Bollywood posters and televised film clips to enjoy as you eat.
There's a lot to choose from - crispy-fried starters, a range of mains, Punjabi and South Indian thali, dosa, uttapam, breads, chaat, desserts and daily specials. I noticed helpful (v)s on vegan dishes throughout their online menu but not in store, so a bit of preparation may be in order.
Michael loves the variety and vastness of a thali ($15.90) - this Punjabi one included (clockwise from top) two breads and a papadum, salad and pickle (under the bread), herbed yoghurt, a charred eggplant curry, a dahl, sambhar, mattar paneer, basmati rice and a runny rice pudding. The bread was excellent and the eggplant and paneer curries were the first to disappear, but eventually Michael demolished almost the entire plate (...with a little help from a friend).
I tried out their Tandoori Paneer Kulcha ($8.90) - two fluffy, tandoori-charred breads stuffed with crumbly paneer, fresh herbs and green chilli, with a tub of raita and a smear of pickle.
The only shame of Maya's meals was that they were so generous we couldn't contemplate ordering anything sweet. I envy the residents of Surry Hills their opportunities to stop in for a cheap snack or an easy, filling and spicy meal.
Maya Vegetarian has won fans on food blogs Millie's Food Symposium, Feeders Digest, More Dinner Than Cents, B-Kyu and My Darling Darlinghurst.
470 Cleveland St, Surry Hills
(02) 9699 8663
starters & mains, dosa, uttapam, breads & specials, desserts, drinks & chaat
Accessibility: There is a step up on entry and well-spaced tables inside. We ordered and paid at a low-ish counter. We didn't visit the toilets.