Lithgow’s very own palace

Many around Lithgow will already be familiar with Kuljeet and his wife, Sukhjeet, who have gained a loyal following at their restaurant, Mughal Palace, with their range of authentic North and South Indian dishes. When people think of Indian food, their minds automatically turn to curries; yet, there is so much more on offer! 

Similarly, many associate Indian cuisine with being hot and spicy, yet this isn’t necessarily the case, either. Onion, garlic, and ginger certainly form the base of all Indian dishes and certain aromatic spices are de rigueur in any self-respecting kitchen, such as star anise, clove, cardamom and fenugreek seeds. Yet, he highlights, “… all curries are different from each other.” The couple is proud to admit that their food is cooked largely oil-free and is very low in fat, which appeals to the health- conscious. 

The tandoori chicken is marinated in a delectable yoghurt mixture and then cooked in the tandoor – clay oven – which is the traditional way of cooking in Northern India. Kuljeet admits he is flexible with his approach and understands that individuals’ palettes vary and he is happy to accommodate when it comes to personal preferences and dietary requirements. For instance, none of the dishes are prepared with chilli; it is only added if so desired by patrons, at the time. Out of the extensive menu, the butter chicken is the signature dish and a perennial crowd pleaser. He chuckles that sometimes he recognises the regulars by their favourite dishes above their names.

Kuljeet recalls his student days, working in a restaurant in Sydney and is grateful for the introduction into the restaurant world. The main inspiration behind his cooking has been his mother, who willingly instructed him on the finer points of a mixed pickle and a perfectly- textured dough. Through connections, he heard of a restaurant in Lithgow and decided to have a look. He saw the potential and in December 2019 opened the doors to his very own

Mughal palace! On the couple’s daily stroll around town, they inevitably strike up conversations with locals and they both coo that everybody is always so friendly and encouraging.

Opening for lunch was born from the idea to introduce patrons to a dining experience during the day. All going well, by the last week of March, they will offer an extension of their relatively new lunch menu at the Gang Gang Farmers’ Market just off Main Street, where locals will have the opportunity to sample some new tantalising light bites. At the restaurant, a morning café-style experience awaits from the first week of April with butter chicken toppa, a variety of parathas: potato, chicken, and lamb; chicken burgers with a South Asian twist, and a lamb feast, with a street food atmosphere. You can start dreaming of an inhouse-made samosa accompanied by a warming masala chai. Further, there will be the introduction of evening weekly specials: a variety of masalas: okra, eggplant, and pumpkin to make your tastebuds jump for joy. The couple are also hopeful to be able to offer their patrons an al fresco dining experience before long.

Sure enough, everyone appreciates their dedication to the art and cultural elements of Indian cuisine and hospitality.

See Facebook page “Mughal Palace Lithgow” for further information and opening hours.

Story and images by Danielle Gehrmann

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