Punjabi Curry Cafe @ Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Charlie & Co. dined as guests. 
Tuesday 3rd October

Located off Johnston St in Collingwood, Punjabi Curry Cafe specialize in authentic North Indian cuisine, with fresh ingredients and friendly staff. We love discovering new places, and so were delighted to dine in on a Tuesday evening.

Mango Lassi

Inside it's nice and warm, inviting datesworthy atmosphere with a fireplace (on a tv screen). It is also the biggest Indian restaurant I have ever seen!

They do take group bookings.

With part of the kitchen in a window at the back, you can see the chefs creating delicious things. Like dumplings, all the tandoori things and naan!

On arrival we were offered 'Papadams with Mint & Tamarind Chutney' *no picture because someone ate one before I took a picture*, and the chutney was amazing, a great accompaniment to the later dishes too. Where can we buy that in a bottle? :P

Chili Chicken (House Special)

Marinated chicken tossed with onions and capsicum in chef's special 
homemade garlic chilli soy sauce. A classic indo-chinese fusion.

With a hint of heat I found the chili chicken seasoning perfect for someone who doesn't like it hot, succulent and tender chicken with plenty of flavour. While this on the entree menu, it could serve as a main too paired with rice/naan.

Paneer Tikka (4 Pcs) - Exotic marinated cottage cheese cooked in tandoor

The texture of this was quite interesting, as the sides were a bit harder being more exposed to the tandoor oven, a bit harder and squeaky almost. While the inside was still soft and quite similar in texture to a firmer paneer than we're familiar with. The flavours were a bit on the bland side, like tofu, especially after the chili chicken, but dipped in that tamarind chutney it was good.

Butter Chicken

Boneless and succulent chicken pieces cooked in butter sauce with coriander, 
tomato and ginger to produce the most popular dish served from the kitchen

When it comes to Indian my go to is the butter chicken, to me it is the dish that determines if we shall return to try other dishes or not. Done wrong without that perfect balance it could be too sweet or salty. But it was just right! Rich and creamy with tender chicken I loved it, served with the 'Kashmiri Pulao' (see below, it's the rice).

Lamb Saag - Lamb cooked with mixed spices in pureed spinach

Fernando had the lamb saag, which also comes in a beef option. "I cannot explain Saag but for some reason I like it, the meat was tender and easy to work with, (have had really tough lamb saag before) and its got spinach in it but you can't even tell. Tastes way better than it looks.Needs more spice to be in my perfect hitbox." I do recall F asked for the chef to make it as hot as he'd have it himself, but that didn't happen.

Paired with the beautiful fruit and nuts rice, it took the spotlight away from the lamb. Go for the plain rice was Fernando's recommendation if you get the saag.

Kashmiri Pulao - Basmati rice cooked with dry fruits and nuts

An orange rice that's slightly sweet scattered with dry fruits and cashews, the raisins were perfect to add a little something to the rich and creamy butter chicken. I absolutely loved this rice as the side to the classic butter chicken, and would get them together again. Though I think it needed more mix ins, the rice.

Garlic Naan

When it comes to naan Fernando loves the garlic, which smells amazing, though I always found my preference to be the plain naan as I find the garlic too oily. He loved it, as there was plenty of garlic, and he usually asks for double.

As we don't normally have entrees when going out to an Indian restaurant it was more food than I can handle, and so we got part of it take away for breakfast the next day, and it was just as good then. So if you don't live locally I'd encourage takeaway for dinner and the next day. ;)

There is always room for dessert! 

Gulab Jamun - Milk dumplings dipped in sugar syrup

Fernando had these milk dumplings, served warm, they were  sweet but not too sweet. There was that balance between sweet and savory. The syrup proportions just right to accompany the soft and fluffy donuty (the airy type), balls. Being light they were the perfect finish for the evening. 

Ras Malai - Milk dumplings dipped in sweet milk sauce

Meanwhile I also had milk dumplings, but they were quite different served in a sweet milky sauce. They resembled cardamon pistachio cheesecake! With the texture being like ricotta but not salty and drier. It was quite nice and I enjoyed them. The cardamon was what made the dessert amazing, it's sorta like rose water but different.

A lovely restaurant, the atmosphere as warm and inviting as the service, and great food. It's a local gem to share with friends and family, also perhaps a date! We're excited about returning/getting delivery.

What's your go to dish when you dine Indian? 

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

Open for dinner every night, Punjabi Curry Cafe also offers delivery services to Melbourne CBD and local areas (including Hawthorn!) via ubereats and menulog.

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