A new arrival to Crown Street’s restaurant scene, Foreign Return showcases a wide variety of modern Indian cuisine. Urban Village spoke to owner gG about the great variety Indian food has to offer, Foreign Return’s ethos and a mutual love for Surry Hills.
There is a popular story in India about the Rock Pigeon, which flew around the country carrying messages of love and hope before he arrival of the telegraph in the 19th century.
The Foreign Return restaurant takes its inspiration from that story, offering cuisine from all of India’s region as they may have been collected and carried by the famous pigeon. And now, the pigeon has brought its recipes to Surry Hills.
Foreign Return owner gG has been working in Sydney restaurants for 15 years and has worked in some of the best restaurants and hotels the city has to offer. Throughout his experience, he and partners Kunal and Javed noticed a lack of variety of Indian cuisine in Sydney.
gG says, “We saw that there was a gap in the market in terms of really introducing to locals that there is more to Indian food than butter chicken.”
Foreign Return seeks to set itself apart from other restaurants through its approach and thought process. “It’s the thought process behind how modern India dines and drinks in today’s time, but there is also a strong emphasis on regional cuisine of India and it’s not just North India, as we see in a lot of restaurants.”
“I haven’t seen an Indian restaurant with a focus on bars. We have an Indian inspired cocktail program, there’s an amazing wine program.”
Foreign Return also sets itself apart as it focuses on offering all day. gG says, “I like to believe that Indian restaurants have always been perceived as a dinner destination or as a curry take away…”
“We wanted to create a space for all. So, if someone wants to come in for a beer, they should be able to come in and have lunch and a beer. If someone wants to come in for an intimate date, they should be able to do that too, or make a weekend affair with the family…”
Foreign Return also features decorations representing different parts of India’s geography, culture and history, such as a nod to its colonial past, as well as lighting pendants made from fisherman’s nets to represent the coastal areas and their cuisine.
The restaurant has even been approached by restaurant and bar publications hoping to showcase the businesses aesthetic interiors and great food.
The decision to open in Surry Hills was an obvious one for the Foreign Return team, with gG adding, “I’ve always liked the vibe, I like the whole community here. I think the best chefs have come from this street. There have been successful examples from this street… I think that Crown Street is where the hub is.”
The Foreign Return team consist of owners and directors gG, Javed and Kunal as well as head chef Siddarth, who hails from the Southern part of India and has worked as the official chef of the Australian cricket team. Siddarth is also trained under Atul Kochhar, one of the two London Michelin-star chefs.