Sharma’s Indian Sweet & Curry House, 4/350 Taylors Rd, Taylors Lakes. Phone: 9356 4400
A spur-of-the-moment email earlier in the week had ascertained that, yes indeed, we had pals only too eager to join the Consider The Sauce boys for an Anzac Day lunch feast.
After a bit of umming and ahhing, we settle on Sharma’s Indian Sweet & Curry House in Taylors Lakes – it’s a bit of a drive, but all hands are keen.
Those hands being Bennie and his dad; Bruce and his daughter, Maddy, who joined us for a memorable Saturday lunch not so long ago and who this time bring the other sibling, Josie, along for the fun; and our pal Nat, a sort of Mr Prolific of Urbanspoon.
As it turns out, Anzac Day weather is of extreme suckiness, so what better way to spend the day than heading out on a curry adventure?
I’d visited Sharma’s on my ownsome some time ago, but am pleased that everyone is keen as I am to pursue the rather extensive menu further.
First up, we are delivered a bowl of freshly fried papadums.
They’re oily but crisp. Best of all, they’re on the house – and good on management for that, easily producing some goodwill at little cost where other eateries see only a chance for more profit.
It takes a while, but we knuckle down with a rather broad order that we hope will please everyone at least some of the time and leave us all happily contented.
Here’s what we get:
Atish bahaar sizzler ($16.50) – two each of samosas, onion bhaji, aloo tikki and veg pakora.
Special goat curry ($13.50).
Chicken butter cream ($12.50).
Tava chicken ($12.50) – a curry with herbs, spices, coriander and ginger.
Singapore Punjab noodles ($11.50).
Two serves of plain rice ($3.50 each)
Four plain naan ($2 each).
We order mild levels of spiciness to fit in with Bennie, who has become a bit gun shy of chilli in the past few months. Mild we get, to the, um, mild disappointment of some – especially Josie, who turn out to be something of a Spice Princess!
The snack combo platter (top picture) is very fine – good value for sharing, with a variety of different flavours and textures, and all for the most part remarkably grease-free.
It becomes a bit messy as we try to make sure each of us has taste of each component, but it’s all good fun.
The various fried snacks are served with some tamarind syrup and a mint relish that is less creamy and more spicy and piquant than those normally found in Indian restaurants. It’s a beaut flavour hit.
The chicken butter cream (left) and special goat curry (right) find favour with those who lobbied for their inclusion.
Those digging the goat concoction agree that the bone-sucking involved in meals made with cheaper cuts of meat is priceless.
The tava chicken is nice enough, too, though to me seems to symbolise the curries generally – very much of the onion/tomato/cream/spices gravy base and less of the spectacularly individual dishes we have enjoyed lately at Mishra’s Kitchen and Yummy India. Though both those places do your standard curry house recipes as well.
Singapore Punjab noodles – unsurprisingly when you think about the connections – is basically just a vegetarian mee goreng. It’s nice, though, and adds a bit of variety, colour, contrast and vegetable matter to our meal.
Our plain naan breads are fine specimens of their kind.
As Bruce says, ordering them is a good way to find out if a curry house has its mojo going.
We’ve all enjoyed a lovely lunch.
Aside from the already mentioned curry uniformity, I’d also point out that the serves are rather modest and the meat quotient on the low side.
No matter, really – everyone is happy to adhere to the spirit of “it’s not the meat, it’s the gravy” by mopping up the sauces with the naan.
Moreover, the reasonable prices and the power of numbers means the bill comes to a very excellent $83 – or about $14 each.
We all have a gander at Sharma’s wide sweets range before buying some to take back to our respective homes and heading out into the bleak Melbourne day.
Thanks for the company!