Punjabi Curry Cafe

PUNJABI CURRY CAFE, COLLINGWOOD: It was my first time trying out Indian food in Melbourne (having previously only had it in the U.K.) and it was definitely a unique experience – taking my tastebuds on a tour of strong spices and aromas that cannot quite be recreated in another cuisine. We were offered the chance to try a vast array of dishes, spanning from seafood, to vegetarian, to lamb and chicken so it definitely encompassed a lot of what Indian food stands for. The restaurant itself has a beautiful atmosphere, dim and subdued with cosy seating mostly for 2 or 4 customers, and a few rounded tables. Just off from a popular street in Fitzroy, this is a perfect spot for a family dinner or perhaps a special date night with someone who enjoys Indian! They also have a large kitchen out the back with a great number of chefs keenly preparing everyone’s orders.

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A classic lemon lime bitter to start off our meal

Entrees:

  • Vegetable Samosas (Homemade Golden Triangular Savoury Pastry, Filled with Mouthwatering Spiced Potatoes, Green Peas, Fresh Tempered Spices and Coriander) – 2pcs for $8.99
  • Cheese Chilli (Cottage Cheese Tossed With Onions and Capsicums in Homemade Garlic Chilli Soy) – $13.99
  • Chicken Momos (Steamed Himalayan Chicken Dumplings Served With Fresh Sesame Hinted Tomato Chutney) – $10.99
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Vegetable Samosas were such sizely puffs of pastry!

We definitely enjoyed all the entrees a lot as each had their own unique twists we weren’t expecting, creating a delicious start to our heavy meal. The vegetarian samosas were significantly larger than any ones I’d previously had, with a soft, spicy mash of potato peas all wrapped around a crunchy but hard pastry dough.

The cheese chilli is one of their house specials, along with a couple of other chilli dishes. The generous chunks of cottage cheese added a very strong taste, to the vegetables which had been cooked in a stir-fry like manner mimicking an Asian chilli soy sauce. It was refreshing to see the combination of cheese with traditional stir fry veggies, producing overall, a very powerful dish with a bit of savoury, sweet and chilli all in one.

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These just look like Indian dumplings to me!

Having never seen “momos” before, we definitely had to try these cute samplings from the menu. They appear just like small, condensed Chinese dumplings with a distinct variation in flavour. Would’ve loved to taste the sesame a bit more in the chutney as I think the tomato overpowers the chicken, which was quite subtle on its own. I preferred to have each momos without the sauce to appreciate how thin the skin was and the slight spice of the chicken filling.

Fat-o-meter: 4/5

Lamb Korma (Diced Cubes of Lean spring Lamb cooked with Herbs in Creamy Gravy Garnished w. Cashew Nuts) – $17.99

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A lovely pot of lamb korma

The good fat: The lamb was cooked perfectly and fell away in small strips without being too hard to chew. The korma was very flavoursome, and the choice of adding cashew nuts gave it a distinct grounded taste. Just a hearty and powerful main to go with our naan!

The bad fat: Towards the end, we found the dish a bit monotonous in taste – as you could really only taste the strong curry from the korma and gravy.

Fat-o-meter: 3.5/5

Punjabi Kadai Prawns (Prawns Cooked in a Traditional Kadai wok on very high heat with fresh tomatoes, onions, capsicum, ginger, garlic, fresh herbs and spices) – $18.99

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My favourite main – flavoursome prawns tossed in veggies

The good fat: I loved how distinctly different this main was from our lamb. The prawns were cooked to a perfect texture so that they weren’t too chewy and kind of mimicked a central Asian fusion stir fry with the addition of some Indian spices. The choice of vegetables are very classic, and gave a great variety of spicy, strong flavours undercut by the refreshing juiciness of the tomatoes. The tomatoes also added a nice sour touch to the overall sauce.

The bad fat: Wish we had a higher proportion of veggies and prawns in comparison to the sauce as the prawns were the highlight of the dish.

Fat-o-meter: 4/5

Sides:

  • Garlic Cheese Naan (Plain Flour Bread filled with Cottage Cheese and Spices) – $5.5
  • Paratha (Flaky Wholemeal Bread from Tandoor) – $3.99
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Garlic naan is one of my favourites!

The good fat: Of course you can never go to an Indian restaurant and not try their naan bread. The naan bread here features various different fillings – so we opted for the garlic cheese one. I love just normal garlic naan, but the addition of a few chunks of cheese here and there just made it even more delicious. It was a warm complement to our mains.

The bad fat: The naan definitely could’ve been a bit more flaky for sure – which we also found with the paratha. The best naan breads I’ve had are just a multiple, thin layers of a soft, flaky dough that are just calling to fall apart when you bite into it and it was a bit unfortunate to have that experience here.

Fat-o-meter: 3.5/5

Dahi Balle (Fried Mased Lentil Patties Served in Yoghurt and Tangy Chutneys) – $7.99

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A perfect way to quench the strong curry flavours in between!

The good fat: Whenever I see such an interesting name on the menu, I’m always down for trying it out! This was definitely the most deceptive dish of the night – it looks like it’s drenched in thick, salty sauces and various coloured chutneys so you expect something full of saltiness and heaviness but it’s really quite the opposite. The yoghurt was fresh and light, as were the lentils inside. The sauces could barely be tasted, but overall made it a side dish that helped us in cleansing our palates in between a bite of the mains.

The bad fat: I can’t say much for flavour as it’s role was to act as a palate cleanser and therefore it didn’t really have any taste to it. The lentils would be great if they were crispy fried on the outside and had a slight seasoning on the inside as the whole dish just tasted quite mushy.

Fat-o-meter: 3.5/5

Desserts:

  • Pista Kulfi + Gulab Jamun (Homemade Pistachio Icecream and Traditional Milk Dumplings Dipped in Sugar Syrup) – $5.99
  • Paan Kulfi (Homemade Paan Icecream) – $5.99
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You can never have a meal without dessert!

The good fat: It’s icecream! Loved the addition of gulab jamun in our combo one – it was a warm, round ball that tasted like a fruit pudding which was definitely a unique idea! It gave a bit of hard and warmthness to the icecream, making it a very interesting dessert for the tastebuds.

The bad fat: I wasn’t a huge fan of the paan as it tasted like a strong, spicy vanilla. The pistachio also had no elements of pistachio in it – aside from the artificially green colour of it.

Fat-o-meter: 3/5

SHOULD YOU GET FAT HERE?

Yes – I’m not the biggest fan of Indian food, but this place offers hearty portions for decent prices and quality food, especially for Indian cuisine lovers

FAT-O-METER: 4/5

Punjabi Curry Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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