Tag Archives: Indian food

love my local Indian

I guess probably because I’ve eaten so much Indian food and been a frequent patron of Ajantha way up in my suburban parts, it never really occurred to me to review it. A bit silly, really, given I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve dined in here as well as had takeaway.

A few months ago, I organised for a group of friends to come out my way for Vindaloo Against Violence day to a place called Curryzma (now called Asha), which is just down the road from La Trobe University. It had changed owners and wasn’t as great as it used to be. I promised one of my good friends Colin that one day we’d head to my good local Indian joint.

That day finally came. After a miscalculated disco nap on Colin’s part, we met up and went. Oddly enough, the restaurant was pretty quiet. No matter. We nattered a bit before getting some Kingfisher beer and I pretty much made Colin get the tandoori mushrooms. This is a favourite in our family. They’re such juicy suckers and they taste so bloody good. Best vegetarian food ever!

tandoori mushrooms

I went with the fish tikka which I’d never had before. Colin actually thought it was chicken! Granted, it did have a similar texture. I might boldly claim that this is actually better than tandoori chicken.

fish tikka

Then the mains – I chose the palak paneer (cottage cheese in spinach sauce) and Colin had the chicken mughal makhani from the ‘pleasures of the poultry’ section of the menu. Yes, they really do call the chicken section of the menu that. I actually wish I either went their dhal makhani rather than this dish. Most of their vegetarian dishes are great, but Moza Corner’s saag/palak paneer has left me spoilt. I’d travel all the way to Clayton for it again!

palak paneer & chicken mughal makhani

It’s custom when eating Indian food to order more than you can possibly eat. So of course, we let ourselves be talked into garlic naan and lamb biryani. There is a serious biryani addiction at my house: my father will order three tubs, we’ll finish one with dinner. So, two leftover. By lunch the next day, all will have mysteriously vanished. I chronically forget to eat lunch, but I polish off a tub by myself the day after with relish. Don’t judge me! You would do it too if you had fluffy saffron basmati rice with chunks of tender red meat.

lamb biryani

With a heavy heart, I am very sorry to say that on this occasion, Colin and I did leave culinary casualties. Yes – leftovers. Was lovely of Colin to come out so far (seriously, anything out past La Trobe Uni is way far!). I think he enjoyed my local Indian joint as much as I did.

Ajantha on Urbanspoon

we came for the dosai, and the dosai was good

Back to some Sydney eateries for a bit.

My girlfriend L would not stop raving on about Malabar in Crows Nest (there is also one in Darlinghurst). Lucky for her, I love Indian food, and admittedly it was a bit of a travesty that I’d never had dosai before. My father who has Indian heritage said that dosai is actually eaten as breakfast! I could totally do that.

Bangalore masala dosai

So that was what the dosai looked like. L was adamant the Bangalore masala dosai had to be ordered, and ordered it was, as shown above. How on earth was I going to eat it? Crack it open! The pancake-like thing is coated in sesame oil oh so lightly, and I swear these are the softest, most buttery-textured curry potatoes I’ve had in my life. Thus far. Oh what a dream they were…

Bangalore masala dosai, detail

The four of us shared the masala uttappam, but as L predicted, the dosai did really steal the show.

masala uttappam

Convinced that Malabar could indeed wear the ‘dosai palace’ moniker (seriously, go check on their website, sign and takeaway menu), mains were chosen. I don’t normally order biryani out because it’s not particularly special but because the restaurant claimed it was one of their other house specialities, I suggested we order it along with our other mains – malai kofta and lamb korma.

Malabar mains

The malai kofta was lovely, and the korma was okay. Usually I’d get something with a bit more heat. Not really sure what my dining companions thought – I think L orders the korma regularly? The amount of food we ordered was just perfect and the bill came to just over $30 each (including a Kingfisher beer each), which I think is extremely reasonable. The service is warm and attentive, and there are plenty of vegetarian options (the fabled dosai we had is one of them). It was nice to actually not have to totter out of an Indian restaurant for once! Sigh, wish we had a Malabar in Melbourne. I get pangs thinking about those heavenly potatoes in the dosai! If this place were local to me, I’d be going on a regular basis. L is a lucky lass!

Malabar on Urbanspoon