Friday, 2 March 2007

Happy Holi

This weekend is my favourite Indian holiday. Holi is best known for the colourful dyes that strangers splash each other with and in my opinion it is the most visually appealing holiday of them all.

To celebrate I decided to indulge in the treats from the Southern part of the sub-continent. If you’re searching South Indian food in Melbourne I generally suggest heading to Dandenong but today was the exception to the rule when I sampled the food at Barwarchi (20 Station Street, Moorabbin). By night you get the standard North Indian curries and tandoori but on a weekend from 11am South Indian food is the go.

My father who spent some of his youth in Madras (now Chennai) pronounced the fare here to be more authentically South Indian than the more Ceylonese style dishes you get in Dandenong. The prices are similar so I suppose it’s just a matter of personal taste. For me Barwarchi came out on top when the chef allowed me to put my head into the tandoor oven so I could eye the chickens roasting away within. I was considering the possibility of a tandoor for my home until the staff told me theirs cost $10 000. You could buy a lot of takeaway naan with that sort of money!

If you’re not familiar with South Indian food I wouldn’t recommend Barwarchi as the menu descriptions border between confusing and misleading. The staff more than make up for this, however. We were off to a good start with the idliis - hot fluffy steamed rice cakes served with a spicy sour dahl and a coconut chutney (3 for $5) and a round of lassis ($3). The masala dosa ($7) was everything you would want. A thin crisp pancake stuffed with delicately spiced potatoes sprinkled with fried lentils. I’m told the fried lentils point to authenticity. For an extra 50c you get it brushed with (extra) ghee.



We finished with a dhai bhalla ($7) which to me really evokes that magical sweet/sour/salty combination we associate with Thai cuisine. Lentil patties are topped with perfectly balanced sour yoghurt, sweet chutney and salty masala spice. The owner’s mother in law is hard at work in the kitchen and producing excellent results. I think I've been converted.

9 comments:

Another Outspoken Female said...

I got hooked on dosa in London. But here in the inner city - fitzroy/carlton - I can't seem to find a good one. Know any that will save me a trip to Dandenong?

Truffle said...

I've heard a place called Jaipur Curry Club is opening in Bourke Street and will serve dosas on weekdays. Will try and find the address.

Not inner city but the Madras Banyan Tree in Hampton does a lot of South Indian food.
(http://www.theage.com.au/news/restaurant-reviews/madras-banyan-tree/2006/09/18/1158431633094.html)

I would also suggest Bangla Sweets and Curry Cafe at 199 Brunswick Street Fitzroy. They don't do dosas but do a lot of chaat- Indian street food.

Truffle said...

Went past today. It's at the top of Bourke near Spring Street. Two shops down from the Imperial Hotel :)

Venkat said...

'Flora' is another place located right across the street from Flinders where you can get Dosas and pretty decent Indian food. The dosas and sambar are good, but being a South Indian, I wasn't happy with their chutney. However, a non expert would hardly notice the difference.

Truffle said...

Thanks for the suggestion Venkat. I have walked past that place many times but was unsure as to the authenticity. Will have to try it out sometime soon though! Thanks very much for reading.

sushilsingh said...

Dear,Friend
Holi is one of the major festivals of India and is celebrated in almost every parts

with great fun and frolic. The joys of Holi know no bound. The festival is

celebrated across the four corners of India or rather across the globe. However,

each part of the country has its own way of celebrating Holi in a different way.

Let's have a look at how Holi is celebrated in different part of the country
Please Visit For More Detail
http://desidirectory.com/indian-festival-events/

sushilsingh said...

Dear,Friend
Holi is one of the major festivals of India and is celebrated in almost every parts

with great fun and frolic. The joys of Holi know no bound. The festival is

celebrated across the four corners of India or rather across the globe. However,

each part of the country has its own way of celebrating Holi in a different way.

Let's have a look at how Holi is celebrated in different part of the country
Please Visit For More Detail
http://desidirectory.com/indian-festival-events/

lay said...

i am an indian and a great food addict.i have tried almost all the major venues of indian food in melbourne.and if i had to give my votes for the best south indian restaurant then it has to be namaskar india.it is just next to malvern train station,opposite pizza hut.(thats how indians gives you address,eveything except the street name ane number!!!)
you will get the best dosas and has got two pages of the menu for dosas.also to try are idli and utthapa.and i bet its the best,authentic south indian taste in melbourne.enjoy.and do write me if you would like to know more about indian restaurants.

Anonymous said...

I have tried Namaskar India restaurant so many times but my last experience stop me to go there any more. I was a great fan of it but after getting very bad service specially in my party make me upset. After that day we have decided that never go in Namaskar India again and also not reccommonded to any other. What is the meaning of good food with aimless follow order and not give a respect to customer. I think they are earning more than expectation and may be need some rest to see bottom.