A more recent review can be found here.
Mishra’s Kitchen, 18 Wembley Ave, Yarraville. Phone: 9314 3336
As we approach the Wembley St shopping trip that has previously left us untroubled in an way, we have contingency plans.
After all, the basis for our dinner – to be shared by Kenny, Bennie and neighbour Rob – is based solely upon my spotting a week earlier what purports to be an Indian restaurant in what is a plain old sandwich shop by day.
Our hopes are not particularly high.
Our downbeat wariness is given a swift kick in the bottom as soon as we enter the door.
This is indeed an Indian restaurant – albeit a humble one that doesn’t try to hide its daytime non-Cinders gig.
More importantly, the welcome from the eager staff is wonderful.
So much so that as we are nutting out the menu and ordering, and it becomes clear that Rob has less experience with tandoori oven rituals than us, I ask if our mate can witness up close and personal the making of our naan order.
The chef – Mr Mishra himself – obliges by not only explaining the whole process to Rob and Bennie but also by giving Rob crack at making his own naan.
To keep the costs down, we go without starters or snacks and soft drinks, staying with the water. In doing so, we have what I suspect is much more like your average Indian family meal than an outing replete with samosas and the like.
We do good, ordering bhoona chicken (“in medium spices and pot-roasted with ginger and tomatoes”, $11), jhinga Madras (“South Indian spicy prawns curry with mustard seeds and coconut milk”, $14) and mixed vegetables ($9), joined by plain rice ($3), plain naan ($2) and tandoori roti ($2).
Mixed vegetables and bhoona chicken.
What a wonderful feast we have, with a marvellous combo of varying colours, textures and spice levels.
The difference between our most recent and rather unhappy experience in taking our Indian food habit slightly upmarket and this lovely dinner in a restaurant a mere three weeks old is stark.
The vegetables come in a mild, creamy sauce (cashews, maybe?) and include mushrooms, peas, cauliflower, green beans, fried onion strands and potato.
For Rob and I, this is our pick of the night, with the individual vegetables cooked through but holding their shapes and flavours. Lots of mushies!
About four medium-size prawns for each of us come in a sharper sauce that has the advertised mustard seeds and a tantalising whiff of a spice more exotic than usual that defies my analysis – despite asking the chef the dish’s particulars. That’s how it goes in Indian eateries sometimes!
Bennie loves the chicken, but to me it is merely a good chicken curry.
Taken as whole, and with two fine breads as accessories, our meal is an outright winner.
So is the cost – a mere $41, which is both outstanding and ridiculous.
What a find this place is.
How happy the immediate neighbours – not blessed with an excess of eating out or even takeaweay options – must be.
And how emblematic of the west, in an excellent way, it is that Mishra’s Kitchen joins the likes of Cafe Centro and At 43 in making do and doing great with what is at hand, even if that means making a premises undertake different duties by day and by night.
AND we got a parking spot right outside.
I reckon that’s quite enough, thank you very much, of newspaper stories lauding the livability of Melbourne’s west and other such like preposterous notions.