Tag Archives: Mill Park

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

sometimes I hate the ‘burbs…with good reason

I hate Mothers’ Day, just like I hate birthdays and Christmas. Yes, even my own birthday. Hallmark holidays are incredibly stressful. Such days like this are a little harder to coordinate with my brother getting married, but that is life. I didn’t realise it at the time, but my father had made arrangements for us all to dine out for Mothers’ Day thinking that his selfish children had not bothered to organise anything for Mum. I have to confess, I still feel pretty awful about that, especially as the place we went to was pretty awful.

I have mentioned before that my folks don’t really like to travel much to go out to nice places because they hate the parking and looking up directions and such so I thought nothing was wrong with Dad organising for us all to go to the local cafe-restaurant Nova Vista in Mill Park. It’s about two kilometres from my parents’ place so you can make a mad dash home after eating. They had a special reduced three-course menu for Mothers’ Day which was very wise, I thought.

There weren’t many vegetarian options so I made it a pescetarian night (I do like to go veg on occasion). Mum had the bruschetta with tomato, basil and bocconcini. It looks fine but she wasn’t particularly happy with it.


Dad had the antipasto platter with the usual suspects. It was…passable. I guess it would have been haute cuisine¬†for the 80s.

antipasto platter

I had the salt and pepper squid as did my sister-in-law. Again, not the sort of stuff that inspires great books of literature to be written. Flavourless but to their credit not rubbery. I love it when it’s fresh and cooked well but lots of places stuff it up.

salt and pepper squid

I think the following main is pretty appalling, so I’ll just get it out of the way. Mum and I both chose the swordfish fillet. At the bloodline, it was raw. Yes, sashimi-raw. Both my parents are horrified by the idea of raw fish so this was unforgivable.

Here’s what the dish looked like. Not ground-breaking cuisine, no, but it looks okay, don’t you think?

swordfish fillet

Here’s what the fish fillet looked like once you cut into it. I am not exaggerating about the sashimi rawness.

badly cooked swordfish

Mum’s was worse than mine, and she did inform the staff. The manager came out and offered her a free drink of her choice which she declined. He was very apologetic about the incident.

My brother ordered a chicken parma which was left unfinished. I asked him what was so bad about it and he said it just didn’t taste nice. I’ve never seen my brother leave a parma ever. I’m tempted to argue it’s un-Australian. Seriously, you won’t catch me leaving one unfinished either. I’ll leave the chips but never ever the parma. I hope I’ve stressed enough how seriously I revere the parma. Sadly, my love for the parma hasn’t protected me from the occasional racist abuse from yobs with shitty taste in beer (I happen to be brown).

chicken parmagiana

Dad’s main was probably the best but he was far from pleased with it – the 400g rib eye. He maintains that the reason he ordered steak here was to see how it compared to his own – he cooks a mean steak. He wasn’t impressed that his had a lot of gristle.

400g rib eye grill

Seeing as a set amount was paid per head for all three courses, dessert was ordered by us all. Most of us had the pavlova roulade. Nice, but nothing special. The pavlova was delightfully light which was exactly what I needed after a big meal, even if it did remind me of hospital food. You probably think I’m joking but last time I was in hospital, there was a mad clamour for Sunday evening pav – it’s pretty hard to screw it up.

pavlova roulade

Two of the party had the sticky date pudding, and thus was the end of what felt like special school camp afters.

sticky date pudding

Nova Vista used to be so much better – it wasn’t too bad when it first opened, but the standard has really dropped. I actually love their three cheese gnocchi (its quality differs as the cooks have yet to discover the beauty of the sauce burner on their stoves) on the regular menu but lately I’ve had some appalling culinary experiences (for instance, under no circumstances do I recommend their soup of the day – it is tasteless and I’ve had better things come out of cans or sachets). The staff are nice, but I don’t intend to go back here ever. If any food staff are reading this, this is pretty much a post on how not to do things if you have a food establishment. Oh well, all of the major fast food joints are nearby and at least they are consistent no matter what ‘burb you’re in: sometimes that can be a good thing.

Nova Vista on Urbanspoon