I haven’t known Tristan for a very long time, but one thing I noticed about him when I first met him is his boundless enthusiasm to try anything new. This of course translated into food – we’ve both been to some fantastic places in Melbourne of all price ranges hunting about for a good feed. Tris is mainly the tech arm of Eat, Drink, Stagger but both myself and Ryan had been gently cajoling him to do a guest piece pretty much since the blog’s inception.Finally, we have it. It turns out that Tristan is web dev by day, and ninja (of sorts) by night. You can find his personal non-food writings at Obfuscure, and he is also on Twitter as @tristankenney.Initially I thought it wouldn’t work to align ninjas with Indian food, but I am sorely mistaken. Especially when said ninjas are locals at said Indian restaurant that Tristan is reviewing for us. We hope you enjoy the review, and that we can coax another post from Tris.
As a ninja I need to be at my absolute peak, all the time. Ninjas must defend against shuriken attack, poison darts, surprise attack ad infinitum. To obtain and maintain these vital razor-sharp reflexes – preventing a violent an untimely death – a ninja must train, and train hard. To maintain focus whilst training, a ninja needs to be nourished. As all ninjas (and ninja groupies / fanciers) know, a ninja’s favourite genre is Indian. Thus, prior to most ninja training sessions I can be found at the Indian restaurant Moza Corner in Clayton.
It was a summer night when I rounded up my ninja posse: my partner Ms G; my father (Ole Man) and step-mother (S. Mother); and my Auntie, or ‘Aunty’ as we fondly call her. Bundled into the ninja mobile (a 2009 Mazda 3), we set out across the great feudal wastelands (the eastern suburbs) to Moza Corner.
Bursting through the door, thumbs in kimonos we were an impressive sight.
We were quickly ushered to our table, menus in hand. While looking at the menu you can’t help but notice the television blasting the latest-and-greatest in Bollywood. Thoroughly entertaining but not optimal for conversation. But who am I kidding, we were here for the food.
As Ole Man and myself were (curry) battle veterans (of the establishment), we took charge and made dish selections for the ‘crew’: saag paneer, dhal makhani, goat vindaloo:
Goan fish curry and eggplant curry:
The requisite vegetable biriyani:
Lastly, the mandatory serving of naan (in this case, Kashmiri naan):
Prior to ninja training session when Ole Man and myself would eat at Moza, we kept coming back to the same combination of dishes: saag paneer, eggplant curry, vegetable biriyani and garlic naan. Between the subtle curd-like cheese and spinach of the saag paneer, and the bombastic smoky flavours of the eggplant curry – coupled with the complimentary biriyani and garlic naan – it was the perfect selection for two.
Of course now that we had fellow ninjas, (or was that ninja fanciers? I forget) we needed to expand the curry bonanza. Ms G added the dhal makhani, one of her favourites. I tend to find lentil dishes a bit bland but fortunately for me, the dhal makhani was a flavoursome round-house kick to the taste-buds.
For the ‘vegetarian’ ‘Aunty’ we added the Goan fish curry (apparently fish is flora as opposed to fauna, at least according to some). The fish was tender. Ole Man chimed in and added a goat vindaloo. Again, lovely tender meat – just not enough of it for my liking. All of the dishes had wonderful sauces – a highlight of the Moza Corner experience. This ‘saucetopia’ resulted in members of the posse jostling to mop up the remainders, and despite a tense stand-off between Ms G and myself over the remainders of a dish, no ninja blood was spilt. After a quick survey of the table, the ‘ninja crew’ unanimously concluded the dishes were a hit, and at the price (of between $8 to $12) why wouldn’t they be?
Aside from Moza’s famed reputation as a ‘sustainer of the martially artistic’, it is also known for its prowess as an Indian sweet-maker, receiving a mention in The Age. Because of this, members of the posse were held at shuriken point and force-fed sweets. All members, except Ole Man that is. He is currently in the midst of a bloody war with that foul beast ‘Fructose’ *cue music*. Apparently showing one’s (mildly obsessive) father a video about the ‘evils’ of fructose will lead to fructose-induced paranoia and hysteria. But, back to the desserts. For me the kala jamun, gulab jamun for Ms G, and pista burfi for S.Mother and ‘Aunty’. By all accounts the sweet maker reputation was well deserved.
Despite the come-hither-you-naughty-boy appeal of the sphinx-like guardians of the coffee machine…
…we all declined after-meal drinks. The coffee machine didn’t look like it had been used since Indian independence was granted, and to be honest we were all too full for tea. So, with ninja-like grace we rolled out of the restaurant – full to bursting.
[DISCLAIMER]: I’m not really a ninja. I do, however, practice Kalis Ilustrisimo, which is just like being a ninja (only without the cool weapons and outfits).