643 Rathdowne St, Carlton North
(Ph) 9347 6387
I had bought a voucher from Zizzle a few months ago - "Just $34 for an unbelievable 8 course Indian banquet for two at Indya Bistro - Voted Victoria's best Indian restaurant!" It sounded like a bargain at the time - this when when online deals seemed so awesome =P
I had booked a table online for 7pm so thought we'd get a decent table, but when we got there, the waiter said we had to sit right next to the door, and when we asked if we could move to one of the inside tables she said "they're for groups of 4" =___= and then 5 minutes later, a group of 2 came in and the waiter separated the 4 people table and let them sit at one of them!! =O how rude!
She gave us this sheet of paper that had listed all the choices for the "8 courses" and told us to pick what we wanted in each course. We finally came to a decision, and then 'cause there were only 2 waiters, and they were serving the tables who sat at 600/630pm so were too busy to take our orders =(
P decided to order a Mango Lassi, thinking the curries would be really spicy, and also 'cause he likes the drink =)
It was so thick, thought they're normally slightly thinner, but it was yum! I wonder if they put real mango in it or just mango powder/flavouring?
Course 1 was the Sheekh Kebabs - featuring spicy aromatic minced lamb kebabs cooked in the tandoori oven
Doesn't look very appealing but it was really tasty! I was saying to P how it doesn't look like kebabs at all, but then he said they probably roasted it on a stick in the oven and then took the stick out when serving it, making them look aweful lol. Spices went well with the yoghurt sauce =)
Course 2 was Samosa & Chickpeas - lightly spiced & seasoned vegetables in a homemade pastry served with chickpea & chutney
|Samosa & Chickpeas|
The samosa was super crunchy (well the top was) though it was filled with chickpeas/lentils AND covered in chickpeas - wish they had a bit of variation =P the chickpea chutney sauce was quite tasty though it kinda made the samosa a bit soft - samosas' are meant to be crunchy!
Course 3 was Aloo Tikki Chat - spicy potato patty served with chickpea & chutney
|Aloo Tikka Chat|
Omg chickpea and chutney again?! We didn't even read the menu properly =S it said so in it's description =( This was not very good - the potato patty was very mushy, like potato mash, and didn't taste of much, could only taste the chickpea and chutney sauce over it. P really wanted to try this though which was a disappointment =(
Should have instead ordered the Indya Dips - a selection of Indian dips served with freshly baked naan bread for course 2 and Samosa - lightly spiced & seasoned vegetable pillows in a homemade pastry for course 3 =(
Course 4 was Chicken Tikka - tender pieces of tandoori-grilled chicken infused with aromatic spices - didn't get a choice with this one.
But it was surprisingly good =) The chicken was chicken thigh so even though it was tandoori ovened, it was not too dry or tough and yes was "infused with aromatic spices" indeed!
We waited like 20 minutes before the main meals come - P was saying how he thinks we might need to get some drive through afterwards 'cause all the "courses" are so small!
Finally course 5 came - Lamb Rogan Josh - tender lamb cooked in a rich onion sauce, garnished with fresh coriander
|Lamb Rogan Josh|
This was a disappointment - it was so watery, like they ran out of curry so just decided to add water to it =S And it was very bland - didn't really taste of anything and definitely not hot at all! There weren't very many pieces of lamb and they were all quite small pieces - it was quite soft which I liked but P thought it was a bit too mushy.
Course 6 was Paneer & Spinach - delicious Cottage cheese cooked in aromatic flavoured spinach
|Paneer & Spinach|
This was alright - quite different to what we're used to in Indian restaurants. P said it tasted like salted preserved vegetables (mei cai 梅菜) you get at Chinese restaurants - I totally don't agree 'cause 1. they're usually salty duh =P and 2. they're usually chewy and not mushy like spinach is =P Cheese and spinach in curry is really rather strange though I quite liked it, even though it was so mushy and kinda felt like baby food =P
Course 7 was the Freshly baked Naan and basmati rice
The naan bread came like 5 minutes after the curries and rice came, so I was just sitting there waiting for them to give us the bread, tried to catch either waiters' attention but both were so busy. You'd think given everyone needs to book for this restaurant, that they'd know how many people are coming and have enough staff to cater for us all =/
Naan bread was quite good though - crunchy and puffy. If only the curries were tastier...
Finally it was dessert time! Course 8 was Gulab Jamun - a juicy sweet dumpling fried and bathed with rose syrup and Vanilla Ice cream. I don't know why P ordered one of each - should have got 2 Gulab Jamuns!
This was another thumbs up - the dumplings were infused in the syrup. They were so stingy and only gave us 2 little ones - we had one each and a scoop of ice cream with it.
|Vanilla Ice cream|
Lol the ice cream bowl was so much bigger than the Gulab Jamun bowl =P It actually was very tasty with the ice cream - good end to the meal!
Sheekh Kebabs - 7/10 - this was yum! though they probably need to work on their plating =P
Samosa & Chickpeas - 5.5/10 - not too bad, but would have been better if we had ordered just the samosas without the chickpea chutney softening the crispy pastry
Aloo Tikki Chat - 3/10 - this was not nice, mush and more mush =/
Chicken Tikka - 7.5/10 - yum! if only they weren't so stingy! I looked on the official menu, you're meant to get 3 pieces of you ordered it normally!
Lamb Rogan Josh - 2/10 - very disappointing... you'd expect good curry at an Indian restaurant, especially "Victoria's best Indian restaurant"... maybe we should have stuck to Butter Chicken but this was really not very nice =/
Paneer & Spinach - 5/10 - interesting mixture of flavours, probably would have been nicer if it wasn't so mushy and had a bit of texture in it
Naan bread - 7/10 - this was good =P it was be horrendous if an Indian restaurant can't get their naan bread right =P
Gulab Jamun - 7.5/10 - this was the star of the night =P yum indeed! if only they weren't so stingy and gave us more than 2 little dumplings...
1.5/5 - was not that great... wouldn't give us the table that we wanted, and then giving it to someone else a few minutes after us! and only having 2 waiters working on the night, so we had to wait ages to order, wait for our plates to be taken, and wait for our naan bread to come while the curries go cold (not that it mattered much but still!)
2/5 - small restaurant for "Victoria's best Indian restaurant", the decor was quite basic and nothing resembling Indian culture. They had an upstairs which I think they didn't want to open 'cause they only had 2 waiters working, so they got the customers waiting for a table to go upstairs and have a drink and then when a table was ready downstairs, to bring them down to eat =/ they kept turning the upstairs lights on and off to take customers up/down =/
Not going to buy these online vouchers anymore! Tried quite a few and the service and food quality is just so much poorer than what we would have got if we went without the voucher =( ah well worth a try!