Vanakkam, 359 Barkly St, Footscray. Phone: 9687 7224
Stepping into Vanakkam on my way home after an early evening social engagement, what I’m after is a feed while I read.
Certainly, the last thing on my mind is taking of photographs and blogging.
I do know what I am going to order – based on what we’d seen several customers eating on that previous visit, I am extremely desirous of biryani.
But as I soon as my meal arrives – goat biryani – out comes the camera.
For I have a hunch this’ll be the best biryani I’ve ever had.
All the usual components are present:
Vari-coloured rice of slightly less chilli kick than is generally the norm.
Plenty of meat pieces, on the bone but coming free easily enough; quite chewy, too, but that seems just right.
Raw onion slices and half a hard-boiled egg.
Typically runny raita and thin but tangy curry gravy I later discover is made especially to accompany the restaurant’s biryanis using tomatoes and cashews.
But wait – there’s more!
More fresh herbiage than usual, for starters, including coriander and even a little mint.
And – best of all – a generous garnish of delicious fried onions.
Eaten together, all these ingredients constitute a fabulous meal.
And one that is far closer to the complex, celebratory dish called biryani I imagine being served at weddings and the like but which I’ve long assumed beyond the budget constraints of any eatery.
This is plenty good enough for me and hands down the best biryani I’ve had in Melbourne.
As a Tuesday special, my dinner has cost me $10. Even at the regular price of $12, I’d consider it a bargain.
As I stroll back to my car, I realise the nagging lower back pain that has been a drag for several days – the sort of thing that inevitably presages much more severe and immobilising pain – has disappeared.
Whether this has anything to do with my biryani meal, I know not.