Nathu’s Sweets & Cafe

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Nathu’s Sweets & Cafe, 126 Watton St, Werribee. Phone: 9741 6622

Samosa sandwich?

That’s a new one on us!

We’re told it’s a Gujarati specialty.

There’s two kinds of chutney – mint and a tamarind number – each spread on one of two slices of plain white slice bread. (I suspect anything heavier or more politically correct simply wouldn’t work.)

And there’s another kind of seasoning we’re told has something to do with chick peas.

Whatever – our $3.95 sanger is a delightful winner.

So unexpected, so delicious!

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Nathu’s has been open only a few months and is a welcome new addition to a stretch of Watton Street already liberally dotted with Indian and other Asian eateries of various kinds.

But based on our lovely sandwich and our other, more predictable luncheon choices we’ll be back real soon.

It’s done out in typical cheap ‘n’ cheerful Indian cafe fashion, although at first glance it appears to be a sweets specialist, with mouth-watering trays of the ultra-rich Indian variety on display.

But with lunch appetites humming, we zero in on the savoury/snack side of the menu.

This numbers more than 20 items, including dosas, bhel puri, idlis, parantha and rice ‘n’ dal.

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I order chole bhature … because I almost always do.

Besides, it’s a real keen way to guage a place’s general, all-round prowess.

This example ($9) is brilliant in every regard.

Fresh, light, ungreasy breads that emit steam when torn asunder.

Really good and plentiful chick pea curry of mild spiciness.

Nice spiced yogurt

Even the red onion slices mixed with fresh green chilli and a light touch of commercial pickle are quite a cut above the unadorned, blunt onion slices that often accompany this dish.

Hot stuff!

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And we order gol gappe ($5.95 ) out of curiosity and because this is the only the second time we’ve seen them served in Melbourne.

These, too, are super.

The “gols” are super crisp, leaving us to pour in the tamarind broth served on the side to join the potato, chick peas and chutneys awaiting within.

They’re gone in a flash!

We grab four pieces of malai (dark) gulab jamun in syrup for home and depart happy as can be.

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Masala House

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Masala House, Watervale Shopping Centre, 5/2-14 Calder Park Drive, Taylors Hill. Phone: 9307 9601

Another zydeco-fuelled drive, another outer west shopping centre, another case of chole bhature for lunch?

Well, actually it’s something of a surprise.

I’ve ventured to this modestly proportioned, newish shopping centre ostensibly for the purpose of checking out the Masala House doasas and the like.

But the appearance – not on the weekend lunch menu, but on the menu proper – of one of my favourite Indian dishes sways me in quick time to change my mind.

After all, it’s been a while since my last chole bhature, let alone a really, really good one.

The smiling, courteous staff are happy to oblige.

Though they seem a little bemused by the fact I have no need to have the dish explained to me …

“How come you know what chole bhature is?”

“You must eat a lot of Indian food?”

… like that.

Masala House is set up near one of the centre’s entrances, and in such a way as to cater for lunchtime takeaway punters and those seeking a more formal eating experience.

At the bain marie there’s rice, lamb rogan josh and butter chicken that I, naturally, ignore completely.

According to the Masala House website, they also have a $20 buffet on Mondays and Wednesdays that looks a lot more promising.

My $9 chole bhature is the biz and a splendid lunch.

Two breads the size of footballs – fresh and hot, but oh blimey, exceedingly, excessively oily.

I figure this is because they’ve fired up the deep fryer solely on my behalf so cut them some slack in my mind. Besides, they still taste great, though I do try to eat the less oil-drenched portions.

Chick peas divine and wonderful – mildly spiced, flecked with fresh coriander and almost-fresh tomato.

And I make good use, too, of the chunky raita and piquant commercial pickle, though leave – as ever – the raw onion.

After spending a few bucks to shout myself a big, fat carrot, a large onion, some celery and a cuddly bag of chicken necks for stock, making of, I cruise home in a meandering way.

I don’t crawl or otherwise drag my feet, but I don’t exceed the various speed limits, either.

Yet for almost all the way home I am constantly tailgated.

By bogans in clapped-out Commodores.

By bogans in SUVs.

By bogans in Beemers.

By bogans with caps on backwards.

By bogans smoking cigarettes.

By bogans using mobile phones.

And even by bogans using mobile phones AND smoking cigarettes.

Dickheads one and all.

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