b and 2ab. 220117M-Fairfax-GoodFood-Indian.food.van.
b. 211010Su-Melbourne’HeraldSun’ – Mumbai (Maharashtra, India) -India’s first 7Eleven.
b. 770105W: Madras [now Chennai]: Mount Rd booking office with a food counter and a snackbar. (Roderick Smith)
Chai ‘n’ Dosa food truck dream brings the dosas to Braybrook. DANI VALENT January 17 2022
Potato masala dosa. Photo: Eddie Jim
There are so many great things to say about Sreelekha Mekala and her dosa truck but I’ll start with how excited, happy and grateful I felt to go there.
To stand in an ex-car lot with a bunch of other fans of south Indian food, to wait half an hour for a lovingly made dosa, to take it across the road and eat it on the grass verge with ants and sunshine – it’s exactly the kind of food adventure I love.
Dosas are made to order and made with care. Photo: Eddie Jim
The dosa – a folded, filled pancake made from fermented rice and lentil batter – is gently sour, crisp on the cooked side, slightly giving inside, just as it should be.
The fillings are lively with housemade spice blends, freshly roasted and ground each week. Potato masala is touched with ginger, green chilli, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Keema is spicier, made with minced chicken, garlic and a powerful masala.
Ghee podi dosa is slathered with a paste made from clarified butter and spiced lentil powder with the addictive, finger-adhering properties of Cheezels.
Chai ‘n’ Dosa food truck is parked in an ex-car lot in Braybrook. Photo: Eddie Jim
There’s evident pride in quality and affordability and even the wait time. Dosas simply take a while: the hiatus is part of the proof of their calibre.
There’s much more to say. We could talk about the fact that a food truck was Sree’s dream ever since she was a little girl in Hyderabad and that she paused a promising IT career to pursue her passion. We need to mention the team: apart from husband Ajit, Sree’s crew is all-women and all-nations.
We should say how hard it was too. On Chai ‘n’ Dosa’s first day, she made a meagre $60. But word spread, so much so that police came by recently to inspect the dosa-inspired traffic jam. When Sree gave them masala dosa, they understood. You will too.
Address: 310 Ballarat Road, Braybrook, 0420 262 274, instagram.com/chai_n_dosa
Open: Mon-Sat 8.30am-1.30pm, 6pm-midnight; Sun 8.30am-2.30pm (check ahead)
Price: Dosas $4-$11
Sreelekha Mekala at work in her food truck. Photo: Eddie Jim
Rating: Four stars (out of five)
Dingo Ate My Taco
These taco specialists are parking at the Australian Open and Queen Victoria Market’s Summer Night markets each Wednesday (except January 26). Come for birria tacos – fried beef tacos with broth for dunking – and dirty horchatas, a rice drink with a shot of coffee.
Vada (fritters). Photo: Eddie Jim
This eating playground is a Melbourne version of a hawker market with bands, DJs and dozens of food stands selling everything from tacos to flying noodles. If you want to arrive in style, take a ferry from Southbank or Port Melbourne.
20 Booker Street, Spotswood, grazeland.melbourne
Mr Pickles Deli
If you’re on the Mornington Peninsula, keep an eye out for this truck and its generous American-style sandwiches like the Reuben with pastrami and sauerkraut, or the Cubano with smoked and roasted pork shoulder and housemade pickles.
Melbourne cheap eats: Top 30 under $30 LARISSA DUBECKI November 15 2021
* Dosa Corner. The dosa horizons are broad indeed at this bustling caf in the heart of West Footscray’s Little India. The paper-thin pancakes from south India come ready to tear apart and dip into fiery sambal, wrapped around fillings from cottage cheese to beef, or in fusion form (yes, there’s a lamb spring roll dosa). There’s also the option to upsize to a mighty 70-centimetre dosa, if you dare.
587 Barkly Street, West Footscray, thedosacorneronline.com.au
Dosa Corner in West Footscray. Photo: Josh Robenstone
Melbourne Indian restaurant Haldi moves to Carlton North due to popular demand. EMMA BREHENY January 11 2022
Haldi relocated to get closer to its regulars and is now offering Carlton North locals a concise menu of regional Indian specialties. Photo: Sepideh Pourmohammad
Haldi, a favourite of Moonee Ponds locals, has brought its tandoor to Carlton North – but not without a few engineering challenges.
Owners Dharminder Singh and Raj Singh (no relation), who also own Gaylord restaurant in the CBD, relocated from Moonee Ponds to get closer to regulars that dined at Haldi with their families and bemoaned the inner north’s lack of a neighbourhood restaurant doing quality Indian food.
Haldi’s new Nicholson Street home is a small terrace. Getting the 80-centimetre tandoor oven through the door was impossible, so a wall was temporarily removed to install the essential piece of kitchen equipment which cooks a 12-hour chicken vindaloo, tandoori king prawns and naan bread.
Owners Raj Singh (left) and Dharminder Singh are happy to alter dishes for dietary requirements, including gluten-free breads, vegan curries and more. Photo: Supplied
Dharminder (who goes by DJ) says the new Haldi is more relaxed than its predecessor, with no time limit on sittings and comfortable touches like carpets, greenery and banquettes.
"Whereas people often just think of Indian food as curries after a few beers, this has changed their perception, which is a good indication," he says, adding that people are exploring more of the menu.
Many different regions of India feature, from a Goan-style rockling curry to Delhi’s snack of golgappe: fried puffs of bread filled with spiced potatoes. A recipe from DJ’s mother involves roasting garlic-stuffed eggplant over fire, chilling it overnight and finishing it with an onion-tomato masala.
Dietary requests are taken seriously, with many kitchen processes adapted so that dishes can easily be made vegan or gluten-free.
The 30-seater offers BYO as well as Australian and Italian wines, Kingfisher beer and local brews.
Takeaway is also available, with delivery through major platforms welcome news in the latest phase of the pandemic.
As for Moonee Ponds residents, they’re now making the trip across town. If you ask nicely, you might just end up with a Haldi in your own neighbourhood.
Open Tues-Sun 5pm-10pm
375 Nicholson Street, Carlton North, 03 9349 2947, haldi.com.au
Curry night au-go-go from three interesting Indian eateries in Sydney. TERRY DURACK August 23 2021
Crisp and delicate: Kheema dosa from Malabar, Darlinghurst. Photo: Supplied
Curry Night is always a good idea. Doesn’t matter whether the curry is goat or fish, or whether it’s warmly spicy or "I can’t feel my tongue any more". Curry Night transcends all that, as you immerse yourself in tempered spices, scented rice, warm breads, crisp dosas and comforting lentil sambars.
Ah, but do you go northern Indian, with its flat breads, yoghurt, tandoor and samosas, or southern Indian, with its lighter seafood and vegetarian dishes, coconut milk, crisp dosa, and tangy rasam? Or do all Indian restaurants in Australia pander to everyone’s tastes with pan-Indian menus? There’s only one way to find out.
* Urban Tadka, Terrey Hills
The "Tadka Boys", co-owners Dimpy Singh Kanwar, Mandeep Rana and Inder Dua, keep things proudly northern Indian, a little bit fusion, and a lot of fun. Even without the theatrical setting of the restaurant experience, they manage to imbue their takeaway food with a sense of excitement. (Check out the website for more fireworks.)
There’s golden biriyani loaded with lamb and threaded with caramelised onions ($21.90), and lamb cutlets pulled from the tandoor ($27.90), profoundly charred yet tender. There’s a terrific tadka dhal ($19.90) that goes with everything, and wok-tossed jhinga lasuni tikka masala ($26.90) that’s moreishly sweet-and-sour, the king prawns in a rich, tangy, garlicky, sauce of chilli, shallot and green capsicum.
Breads are thick and pillowy, and lasuni (garlic) naan ($4) goes well with the long fingers of finely minced chicken and lamb of an elegant saloni seekh kebab ($15.90). The only dessert on offer is a gronut ($8), a glossy semolina doughnut sticky with rose water and cardamom syrup – add a bottled Old Fashioned cocktail ($17) to your order, to help cut the sweetness.
Go-to dish Saloni seekh kebab, minced lamb and chicken with Lahori spices, $15.90
How Delivery within 10km (call to order), or pick-up from 5pm to 8.30pm, Tue-Sun. Shop 2, 321 Mona Vale Road, Terrey Hills, 02 9986 1040, urbantadka.com.au
Gronut from Urban Tadka in Terry Hills. Photo: Jill Dupleix
Good old Malabar does a lot more than that southern Indian favourite, masala dosa, but, my goodness, it doesn’t really need to. I’m already a regular for its baby goat mappas ($28) but for this exercise, it’s all about the fermented lentil and rice dosa ($12), with its little pots of lentil sambar and coconut chutney.
No dosa is going to survive delivery with its perfect-roll-of-parchment intact, but the end result is a loose scrunch of crispness and softness, with a lovely sourness from its downy, fermented inner lining. Enfolding either a "savoury mince" of lamb, fenugreek, ginger and cinnamon, or a crushed rubble of warm potato, onion and mustard seed, it’s proof that you don’t even need a curry to have a great curry night.
Go-to dish Kheema dosa, $14 and masala dosa, $12.
How Pick-up noon to 2.30pm Wed-Sun, and pick-up and delivery 5pm to 8.30pm, daily. 274 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, 02 9332 1755, malabarcuisine.com.au. (Also at 334 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest, 02 9906 7343.)
Masala dosa at Malabar in Darlinghurst. Photo: Supplied
Abhi’s, North Strathfield
You don’t last 31 years in this business by not giving people what they want, and Kumar and Suba Mahadevan and sons Abhinav and Aki do so with everything from Goan fish curry to tandoor, biriyani and dosa.
The good news is that they now package up two of their hit dishes for OzHarvest’s Harvest Bites, which delivers beyond Strathfield and puts the profits to feeding those in need. Chicken makhni, for instance, comes with beautifully cooked basmati, tomato and onion kachumber, mango chutney, yoghurt raita, and a bag of miraculously unshattered poppadums ($35). It’s a rich, bright take on butter chicken, tandoor-roasted then coated with a velvety fenugreek-forward tomatoey cream. Get hold of a bottle of Kingfisher beer ("Most Thrilling Chilled"), and Curry Night is off and running.
Go-to dish Chicken makhni and sides, feeds two, $35
Butter chicken from Abhi’s. Photo: Supplied
How Order by 4pm Monday for delivery Wednesday through Harvest Bites or call the restaurant to order a la carte for local delivery or pick-up. 163 Concord Road, North Strathfield, 02 9743 3061, harvestbites.com.au or abhisindian.com.au
Melbourne has over 20 Sri Lankan restaurants: roughly one third near the cbd (including this more-upmarket one); two thirds in suburbs (west, north, east and south-east), where large numbers of immigrants have settled.
Sydney. Indu: Restaurateur Sam Prince adds a bit of spice to CBD with new South Indian/Sri Lankan venue. AMY HARRIS March 6, 2016 Sydney ‘Sunday Telegraph’
food review – Indu restaurant in the CBD. The Great Lamb raan.
THE superlatives have flown thick and fast for Indu, a new addition to the CBD serving South Indian/Sri Lankan fare, since it opened in December.
“Groundbreaking’’ and “revelatory’’ have been used to describe the South Indian fare at Indu — the latest eatery from doctor-turned-restaurateur Sam Prince (Mejico).
The idea: Fresh, healthy home-cooked style that is common in households in India and Sri Lanka, and worlds apart from the heavy, creamy curries the Australian palate has been weaned on to.
Smoked goat’s leg, zucchini ribbon raita, pomegranate, chilli and bacon jam.
Only it’s hardly a “new’’ concept — Sam Christie did the same thing with the (now closed) Surry Hills’ Subcontinental, while similar fare is offered at Aki’s at Woolloomooloo Wharf and Bang on Crown Street.
I guess what could be seen as something “new’’ is a polished, progressive Indian concept in the middle of the Sydney CBD, where Chinese and Mediterranean cuisine is generally the easiest to
Talking of hard to come by: You all but need a sherpa to get into Indu, which is hidden down a barely marked set of fire stairs in Angel Place.
We had to ask for directions from a waitress at a nearby restaurant and her exasperated but polite response indicated we weren’t the first to do so. (Gee, they must LOVE that.)
The pay-off is, however, pretty spectacular. Indu is a dark and seductively-lit grotto filled with inviting leather booths, hand-pressed mud-brick walls and oversized vases overflowing with spices and dried chillies.
Head chef Bimal Kumar’s menu is divided into sections that include a Dosa Bar Menu, “coast’’, “village’’ and “curries and grills’’, and the drinks list has a bunch of custom-made cocktails along with an impressive combo of French and Australian wines.
But we opt to leave it in the lap of the gods and spring for the $80-per-head set menu which varies from day to day and, with any luck, includes the bone marrow and Kashmiri lamb curry.
First up is pan-seared scallops served with a sprinkling of smoked coconut and tempered curd.
Normally I avoid seafood at Indian restaurants because I worry that its subtle flavour will be swallowed by the spicing. In this case the opposite occurs. The scallops are a little bland and undercooked and the smoked coconut is almost flavourless. Nothing revelatory here.
Tableside coconut sambal with red chilli and red onion.
But redemption comes in the form of the smoked goat’s leg dosa — a sticky dollop of meat served on wafer-like pancake with zucchini raita, pomegranate and a smoky chilli and bacon jam. Head-swimmingly good.
The watermelon salad served with mint, cucumber, yoghurt and cardamom pomegranate molasses is as stunning as it looks; but the pan-flashed clams and mussels served in a Kerala coconut broth suffers from some small thumbnail-sized nuggets of flesh. The broth, however, packs a punch.
“The Great” lamb raan.
The star dish, though, is the marinated, slow-roasted lamb, cooked for 48 hours and ramped up with spices and yoghurt. It is served with a swirl of mint chutney and topped with a sambal of onions, sweet chilli and salt.
The meat is rich, juicy and intense and offset perfectly with its various sides, and we agree it probably compensates for the fact we didn’t get our bone marrow curry. Probably.
Watermelon and fresh mint popsicle.
All that’s left is a simple icy pole of fresh watermelon juice and mint — a great finish at what feels like a place of some great shining lights.
But perhaps a bit more of a work in progress than the finished product.
Where: 350 George Street, (entry via Angel Place) Sydney CBD
Phone: 02 9223 0158
Style: Southern Indian/Sri Lankan
Open: Mon-Fri noon until late, Sat 5pm until late, Sun closed
Highlight: The goat dosa and watermelon icy pole
Lowlight: Tables are small and prices are steep
Rating: seven out of 10
Like this, then try these:
● Bang, Surry Hills
● Abhi’s, North Strathfield
● Malabar, Darlinghurst
All meals are paid for and visits unannounced.
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Melbourne. INDU’s curries and cocktails spicing up CBD. Dan Stock March 26, 2021
INDU serves up curries and cocktails, dosas and daal to a soundtrack of Dylan and The Doors.
Egg hoppers at Indu PIC Arianna Leggiero
The request came through from the supremefoodboss in Sydney: where would I recommend for a VIP in Melbourne on a Monday night?
Prepandemic, it wasn’t too hard to find a fancy feed in Melbourne any night of the week, but today, as the CBD slowly awakens from its COVID coma – and it is definitely rousing, if not getting rowdy by the week’s end – it’s a somewhat slimmer buffet of options, especially on a Monday.
But to that mix we can now add INDU, a modern Sri Lankan/Indian restaurant hidden on Collins St that’s doing dosas to a soundtrack of Dylan and the Doors for lunch and dinner weekdaily.
And though it’s pretty quiet this Monday night, I can imagine it gets quite a buzz about it, especially when the Kingfisher beers start flowing and the curries and cocktails fly from the kitchen and bar.
The smoked goat dosa is a must-try dish at Indu
Having late last year transformed the rear of the Collins Quarter building into a bustling taqueria, Mejico, Ian Hicks and Sam Prince have now turned the front of the space into sister restaurant INDU, an evolution of the original INDU that opened in Sydney in 2015.
A long, narrow, dark hallway filled with ceramic bowls bursting with dried chillies, cinnamon and other spices, does a good job of quickly transporting from tram-dinging Collins St to Hippy Trail subcontinent (hence Dylan, Beatles et al on repeat), the room opening into the dining room that has private booths behind sheer grey curtains and bar seating by the kitchen on show behind clear glass.
It’s a stylish makeover of what was in spirit a pub, and puts the focus more squarely on dining.
Not that the drinking’s shabby.
There’s a nice line in gins and tonic with fancy garnishes – from a grilled pineapple-adorned Archie Rose from NSW through an English Sipsmith with smoking cassia bark – along with a Four Pillars tasting flight, with suitably spicy cocktails giving a Kaffir lime and chilli-infused twist to classics.
Indu Melbourne Dishes include Amma’s dahl (centre) and paratha
Indu’s egg hopper is a modern twist on the traditional Sri Lankan breakfast dish. Picture: Arianna Leggiero
Fresh young coconuts simply served with a straw, tamarind sodas and mango lassis zero point zero with style, while the tight wine list filled with food-friendly fragrant whites and juicy, light-to-medium bodied reds keeps its focus fairly close to home at fairly fair CBD prices – around $15 a glass and $70 a bottle.
Discovering egg hoppers for breakfast was a definite highlight of a trip to Sri Lanka years back, the bowl-shaped pancake nesting a cooked egg and topped to taste with various sambols was a sure-fire way to start each day.
Here, the egg hopper is given a modern twist, the crisp-edged rice flour and coconut milk pancake served with its condiments on top – there’s a super-hot onion pickle, a lovely, mild eggplant pickle, coconut sambol, goat’s curd and pomegranate seeds. Mix and match to taste and devour ($15).
The dosa was even better.
Covering a large aluminium plate, this crisp crepe from South India comes with a mound of fantastically smoky goat meat, a bright yoghurt-and-zucchini raita, chewy chunks of bacon “jam” and more pops of pomegranate. Super tasty and satisfying ($18).
Potato curry is a win for the vegetarians, while the pork belly curry is for carnivore cravings.
Four shatteringly crisp fenugreek-speckled roti fingers with sweet oven-roasted tomatoes, radish and sour cream-bitey paneer cheese are pinky-up pretty finger food ($16), while the fabulously flaky paratha is butterly brilliant and good enough to eat on its own ($6).
But it’s more likely to be commandeered on dunking duties for the pork belly curry, which, when you overlook the diabolically bad “crispy crackling” that’s more like sad dried-out cardboard on top, is great.
Generous with excellent cubes of Mount Mercer pork, the meat is firm and flavoursome, the coconut-based gravy and fresh chilli fire providing sweet and heat to brilliant effect ($32).
A side of co-owner Sam Prince’s mum’s red lentil daal is also good, and what it lacks in the outrageous rich depth you’ll find at fellow mod Indians Mrs Singh and Daughter In Law around the corner, it makes up for with fried curry leaf crunch and mustard seed fragrance ($12).
The main dining room with bar seating by the open kitchen behind clear glass.
Staff are friendly and well-drilled on the menu, and there’s a bit you’ll likely want to ask about, including, should I really order a curry leaf ice cream?
The answer was, and is, yes, and not just for novelty’s sake.
Bright green, subtle but moreishly savoury, its served with piped carrot halva and coconut cream and while needing a crunch factor is a fine way to finish ($12).
It takes fair fortitude to transform a CBD drinking den into a subcontinental restaurant during a pandemic, but INDU has hit the ground running.
It’s a welcome addition to the city – and not just for a Monday night.
INDU 86a Collins St, Melbourne
Open Mon-Fri from noon; Sat from 5pm
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Posted by Roderick Smith – retired rnveditor on 2015-05-19 13:01:05
Tagged: , Madras , Chennai , India , snackbar , food , counter , kiosk