87 Johnston St
Collingwood, VIC 3066
Despite being a fan of Indian food (who isn’t?), I don’t actually eat Indian very often at all. I’m not quite sure why, but I have a hunch it has something to do with the fact of how I just can’t justify to myself a meal full of deep frying and ghee (clarified butter) very often. But when the decision is made for me… I guess I have no choice! So it was with great glee that found myself having dinner at Punjabi Curry Cafe.
If you want to make a good first impression, forget spending money decking out your place – just do what Punjabi Curry Cafe does and make sure your entire restaurant wafts with the intoxicating smell of curries and smoky tandoori. I was only peckish to start off with but within minutes, I had become downright ravenous.
We started off with a complimentary serving of freshly made Pappadums. It came with a dish of mint raita and chutney, but I thought they were good enough to eat on their own.
Pani Puri ($7.99, 8pcs) is a delicious street snack that is grossly under-represented in the Indian restaurants of Melbourne. A hollow ball made from crispy semolina is filled with a mixture of fluffy curried potatoes and chickpeas. There’s an opening at the top of the semolina ball, through which you pour an infusion of mint and other spices. Each bite is bright and invigorating, boasting a range of flavours and textures from every part of the spectrum.
The Lamb Cutlets ($15.99, 4pcs) on the other hand, are a familiar favourite. Rubbed with a thick coating of spice and cooked in the tandoor, these were smoky, tender, and full of flavour.
Now that I’m here, I couldn’t resist pigging out, and ordered a feast of Goan Fish Curry ($16.99), Butter Chicken (16.99), Saffron Rice ($4.99), and Garlic Naan ($3.99). I wasn’t disappointed; both curries had a rich, well rounded gravy and extremely tender meat. The saffron rice was fluffy, and the garlic naan rubbed generously with butter.
I had just enough room to fit in a serve of Gulab Jamun ($4.99, 2pcs). And it was just as well, because these fluffy, sugar-soaked doughnuts were an ideal way to wrap up the meal.
Punjabi Curry Cafe lives up to its name, serving up a respectable meal of good qualities curries. But in addition to that, they also have a generous selection of snacks, sides, and drinks. It is a versatile restaurant that lends itself just as well to a low-key dinner out, as it does for a night of take-away in front of the TV.
Rating: 13/20 – classic stuff.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.
Sweet and Sour Fork dined as a guest of Punjabi Curry Cafe.