551 Barkly St, West Footscray. Phone: 9689 0998
We’re surprised how many folks assume that because we’ve embarked on a food blog that we’re eating out more than ever.
That’s simply not the case – we’re just doing what we’ve always done, which means we dine out three, maybe four times a week.
I’ll concede that’s more than most people do – even in the cheap as chips west – but it hardly seems excessive to us.
The highlight, though, is always Saturday lunch – work/school done with, chores/shopping performed, it’s time to get on the fang with relish. So to speak …
This Saturday we are delighted to have our buddy Kurt along for the ride.
He broke his ankle a few weeks back, and has been experiencing varying degrees of pain, discomfort and inconvenience ever since, so we’re chuffed to get him out and about for a few hours.
Even better, this is his first dosa experience – and we’re thrilled it turns out be an excellent one.
We’d been keeping an eye on this place, half a video store refurbished, for a couple of weeks, waiting for it to open – ever since Bennie noticed the new signage.
In fact, we’d turned up a few days previously only to find it was their first day and they wouldn’t be opening until 5pm.
Happily, another new place – Wok Noodle – was a more than adequate stand-in on that day.
But it’s all on at Hyderabad Inn for Saturday lunch!
This is a nice, big room, tastefully kitted out in a somewhat spartan fashion – which suits us fine.
Unlike so many other places that serve doas, idlys, vadas and the like, this is a full-service Indian restaurant.
The menu boasts a full range of curries, tandoori dishes, Indo-Chinese tucker and so on. Most curries are priced around the $11 mark.
But we’re here for the south Indian goodies. They suit our budget better, we like the flavours and textures, and a fully satisfying meal doesn’t leave us feeling full … as in over-full.
There’s a wide range of dosas, uttapams and the like from which to choose – including a variety of combos.
Kurt goes for the Dosa Deal – dosa of choice (chicken in this case), one apiece of idly and vada, sambar, the usual coconutty sides and a can of soft drink.
This is an outstanding deal for $9.95.
The crumbly minced chicken is delicious, the vada doughnut is unique of flavour and surprisingly soft on the tooth, and the whole deal, including the sambar and coconut chutneys, is a delight. The idly, served on a separate plate, is less to Kurt’s fancy at first … but it, too, disappears in due course.
Bennie and I order the Chef’s Dosa ($10.50) and a lamb biryani ($10.50).
The Chef’s Dosa is stuffed with the same chicken and also separate portions of equally crumbly lamb, spiced paneer with coriander and the usual spuds. It’s all great, with the potatoes more gooey than found in your average masala dosa – almost like a stew.
I’ve never seen Bennie enjoy a dosa more.
The biryani is fine, if not quite meeting the same top-shelf standards as the rest of our order. Embedded in the spicy rice are fried onion strands and three tender portions of lamb on the bone, while the dish is rounded out by a lovely hard-boiled egg, runny raita and a gravy that also seems to have a high coconut quotient.
Cheap Indian food can sometimes mean cheap service.
Such is emphatically not the case at Hyderabad Inn – and that alone seems to make its chances of prospering, in what is becoming an ultra-competitive neighbourhood, very good.
We’ll be back for sure!
Hyderabad Inn website here.