Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city living with a grand mix of cultures which extends from art, music and literature into cuisine. The city today offers an amazing array of the world’s great cuisines, from popular favourites like French, Italian, Thai and Chinese to something truly ground breaking like Middle Eastern and Korean. However traditional Indian cuisine is breaking all records to become one of the top favourites for the tastebuds of Melbournians.
“We love the spicy flavour and the hot blend, it suits our climate as well” says Gary Mitchell, a local businessman. Taking some of his recommendations, I surf through some of the Indian eateries in the CBD precinct and give below my three top picks:
Bhoj Indian Restaurant
Located at Docklands, it’s positioned right in the heart of the New Quay promenade boasting uninterrupted views of the Melbourne city skyline, Victoria Harbour, Etihad stadium and the Bolte Bridge. Expansive outdoor and indoor seating areas and an elaborate food and wine menu provides one of the most indulging way of experiencing a grand epicurean journey.
Among the starters, the Makkai Paneer Tikki, Pudin Hara Reshmi Kebab and the Rajasthani Sula presents the innovative talent of the chef while the Kadai Ghost Golmirch and the Chicken Butter Cream offer contrast of hot and mild. The menu includes a rabbit item generally not available in Indian eateries. The choice of vegetarian dishes are wide and tasty as well.
The décor and ambiance of the place is cool and inviting but most impressive is the rightly paced service. The price of items are reasonable. Click for details
Located on Bourke Street towards the Parliament House end, this extremely popular city-venue provides mouth-watering Indian dishes in a well-lit, split-level space with prints on the walls and polished wood floors. During lunch time this scene gets awfully busy, so not to be surprised or frustrated if have to queue up outside. “We don’t mind waiting as the food here is really yummy and reasonably priced” tells Allison, an office worker standing in the line with her friend to get a table.
The menu includes several street food items like Chats and Pao Bhaji and offers both vegetarian and non-vegetarian Thalis comprising of Rice, Chapatis or Parathas, Curries, Chutneys and Desserts. The parathas, filled with various stuffings – from potato, cauliflower and radish to minced meat, are delicious, and so is their Chicken Tikka and Lamb Daal. But to me the star item has been the Goat Meat Curry. In the recent time I have not tasted such a nice succulent goat meat pieces with bones, all immersed in a curry, well balanced with home pounded spices and fresh chillies. Most pleasingly chilled Kingfisher Beer is available to wash down the meals. Click here for details
Tucked inside a hidden laneway this upmarket and pricy restaurant explores the wonderful world of the Orient, where the magic of India is captured through its interior design and menu. It’s very popular among Melbournians; even on a weeknight the venue can be packed and bustling. So it will perhaps be an inappropriate choice if a quiet and romantic atmosphere is in mind.
The restaurant is split in three sections. Guests go past the open kitchen and the bar into the tables. The menu reflects innovative thinking of the chefs, Adam D’Sylva and Michael Smith while famous sommelier Travis Howe guides to a wine list crafted around a modern Indian inspired menu. The Goan Fish Curry and Chicken Biryani are worth trying, though some may find it hotter than normal with strong South Indian spice-tinges. Some of the starters which are itemised in the menu as “Smaller” are truly small like when ordering Pani Puri, Spinach Pakora or Kakori Lamb Kebab only a single piece comes in the plate.
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