Steve and I were very kindly invited to try out the Punjabi Curry Cafe. It's close to home so we were keen to see what it's all about.
I have to put it out there though. Indian cuisine in Australia has never quite hit the spot like Indian in UK. There is something about the freshness of flavour and thickness of the sauce and the softness of the naan that just puts UK Indian cuisine up there unsurpassed.
And we live in hope that one day we will find that local neighbourhood joint that offers the curry we have grown up with.
I arrived early on a Thursday evening and was warmly welcomed and shown to a table.
Decor is very classic and traditional and so we expected the food to follow suit. There's a glitzy, shiny gold panel wall and some colourful dimmed lighting. I found the staff friendly and helpful and as I waited for Steve to arrive was served some poppadoms and dip.
The mint yoghurt dip was thick and creamy with a nice balanced flavour. The dark chutney was fruity and sticky and both went so well with the crispy, fresh poppadom. This serve of poppadoms exceeded my expectations and raised the bar for what was to follow.
- Veg Manchurian - Homemade Vegetable Balls cooked in chef’s special sweet and sour Indo Chinese Sauce
- Chicken Tikka
The Veg Manchurian was unexpected; potato patties almost suet dumpling like (but obviously not suet) were soft and pillowy topped with a spicy sweet sauce. At first I felt that the serve of 8 balls was going to be too much but surprisingly I managed to eat my share!
The chicken tikka was a classic representation executed satisfyingly well. Juicy and well flavoured; it was like chicken tikka should be.
Saffron rice and garlic naan accompanied our curries. Both the curries looked appetising and weren't greasy. The pots look small but they are deceptively deep so the serves were generous.
But it's no UK curry house...rogan josh in UK has bags of flavour; onion, coriander, tomato. The sauce is thick and the flavours run deep. And then there are baltis and bhunas and dupiazas and jalfrezis and none of this exists here on this side of the World. If it does, I've never found it and not for want of trying.
So the verdict is that the Punjabi Curry Cafe is a good neighbourhood restaurant offering classic Indian cuisine. It doesn't try to be modern or offer anything out of the ordinary but what it does send out of the kitchen is satisfying by Australian curry standards. Out of the Indian meals I've had in Australia, it fares well enough but it hasn't satisfied my craving for king prawn puri and a chicken rogan josh!