We love a new Indian joint

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Saga, 34-36 Irving St, Footscray. Phone: 9689 6089

Can we embrace a new Indian restaurant in the neighbourhood?

Heck yes, especially when it’s in Footscray central, where Indian establishments are vastly outnumbered by those of other genres.

Saga replaces the short-lived Dosa N Biryani, at which I had but a single and barely OK thali meal.

The new place looks like it’s in for a much more serious effort at longevity, sporting as it does a completely new fit-out.

The canteen ambiance of the shiny new furniture and white tiles is ameliorated by bamboo matting on the walls and a village hut-style servery for the bain marie.

We’re told the entire menu – see below – will be available in a few days. So we’ll be back for sure to take the chole bhature, dosas and the like for a test run.

In the meantime, we heartily enjoy our choices from what is available.

This early in the place’s life, there are only a couple of other tables occupied, one of them by a couple of council workers with whom I discuss the undesirability of being served biryani without an accompanying pot of gravy.

The staff member serving us takes our comments to heart, making sure we are taken care of – in my case, with a tub of very nice gravy from the chicken curry in the bain marie.

I’d prefer the gravy/sauce made specially for biryanis we get here, but this works fine.

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It helps that my goat biryani ($10.95) is otherwise lovely.

There are only three pieces of goat meat, but they are bigger and more meaty and tender than is often the case.

The rice is terrific, though the spice levels are quite mild by West Footscray standards.

The raita is cool, with no bitterness from the white onion pices floating in the yogurt.

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Bennie’s non vegetarian thali ($10.95), with his choices from the bain marie all a rather uniform brown, tastes a whole lot better than it looks.

Smooth, quite salty dal made with aduki beans, an oily eggplant brew with fabbo eggplant flavour, chicken curry on-the-bone – it all tastes good to me, as do the segments of the fresh wholmeal roti that comes with this meal deal that I manage to nick.

So … welcome to the new kid on the block.

I reckon it’ll do good.

 

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