In-Dish brings tradition and trends together, creating progressive Indian flavors.

Despite its recent popularity, fusion cooking isn’t new: Intercultural culinary exchange has been prevalent since the start of trade. The secret, then and now, is in the mix: which elements to emphasize when creating a new whole. Fortunately, the recently opened Punjabi fusion restaurant In-Dish has the formula down, combining tradition with trends, variety and authenticity to create a memorable and original dining experience.

In-Dish sets the tone early, greeting patrons with a large, backlit world map at the entrance. The overarching theme is continued in its interior, which juxtaposes the traditional with the contemporary: black cushioned seats and geometric patterns on the floor harmonize with more traditional elements, like antique silver mirrors with intricate embellishments.

An entire wall is covered in classic Bollywood film posters, framed in black and hung in a casual, yet organized, manner. It’s a great touch, lending the contemporary atmosphere a bit of vintage flair and adding much-needed color to the wooden tables and monochromatic furnishings. It evokes a sense of familiarity for fans of Indian cinema, supported by the music, which ranges from sweet Indian serenades to popular desi dance hits.

A bowl of namak pare, a quintessential South Asian snack, greets us on arrival. The savory pastry is never missing from my grandmother’s coffee table. Just like that, I feel at home.

When Worlds Meet

The ambience simply sets the stage for the main attractions however. A wide selection of dishes – including vegan and vegetarian options – gives traditional Indian cuisine a modern twist: there are butter chicken burgers, Biryani Tikkasushi and masala sweet potato fries.

A prime example is the Gol Gappa Shot, a fun variation of the popular street food snack, paired with a shot of yoghurt. While I expected a tangy, sour treat, the In-Dish version balances the pomegranate and potato delicately, catering to Viennese palates.

Even when conventions are broken, a careful balance is maintained. A crispy poppadum acts as the shell in their Mexican-inspired Tikka Taco, holding juicy chicken and salsa, bright colors popping against the black plate. Uncommon in North India, the tandoor duck breast is elegantly served with a tamarind sauce, adding international ingredients to traditional methodology.

For those who prefer authenticity over trendiness, there are several more traditional takes, from biryani to various curries such as the Palak Kofta, a fresh spinach curry with tender beef meatballs. “We don’t use base curries,” Sufian Awan, In-Dish’s manager explains proudly. “Everything is made fresh, right as the order is placed,” allowing heat levels to be customized individually. Particularly convincing are the flatbreads, especially the garlic naan, which adds flavor without overpowering.

Finally, the playful combinations hit overdrive in the dessert menu: The Gulab jamun cheesecake is Karachi meets Queens, topping the rose-infused New York-style base with the delightfully heavy South Asian treat; they also serve rose petal chai tiramisu and Gajri panna cotta. Mindful of keeping the mix equal, both cultures collide, creating something new and interesting.

In-Dish’s concepts hold a diverse range of inspirations, yet they’re tied together with a simple mantra: less is more. While unusual, the flavors and combinations speak for themselves and the emphasis lies on authenticity balanced with innovation. Carefully maintaining harmony and never overwhelming the senses, In-Dish manages the paradoxical: creating something new while remaining comfortably familiar.

In-Dish 1., Schwarzenbergstraße 8, (01) 941 28 01, Mon-Fri 11:00-14:30 & 17:00-22:00, Sat 17:00-22:00, in-dish.at