Indian burgers – no meat, hot stuff

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Gujju’s Cafe & Chaat House, Shop 2, 1 Watton St, Werribee. Phone: 9571 1188

Gujju’s is a sibling for a longer established and identically named establishment in East Malvern.

It’s been in Werribee for a while, so we’ve taken our time in getting here.

It’s at the other end of Watton from where most of this locale’s Indian eateries are located.

And we’re delighted to find it open on a Monday night when we just happen to be in the area and up for dinner.

Truth is, though, a single visit by CTS father and son barely scratches the surface of what’s available at this all-vegetarian outfit.

The voluminous lists cover more than 40 regular chaat dishes, almost 20 Indo-Chinese chaat dishes and seemingly as many again possible selections of the dosa and uttapam varieties.

There’s also a range of Gujarati thalis available ranging in price from $19 to $25.

I tried the cheapest of those on an earlier, solo visit and was somewhat perplexed and unimpressed – perhaps because the Gujarati flavours and texture were quite different from those we regularly partake of in the Indian province of West Footscray.

 

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So tonight for the CTS lads it’s the snacky joys of chaat all the way.

Specifically, I am keen to reinforce connections and join dots for Bennie between his ever-loving burgers and more multi-cultural and spicy and exotic foods.

So that’s why we order one each of the Guuju’s dabeli ($7.90) and cheese dabeli ($8.90), described on the menu as “unique Indian burgers”.

According to this post on wikipedia, dabelis are:

“A snack food of India, originating in the Kutch or Kachchh region of Gujarat. It is a spicy snack made by mixing boiled potatoes with a dabeli masala, and putting the mixture between pav (burger bub) and served with chutneys made from tamarind, date, garlic, red chilies, etc. and garnished with pomegranate and roasted peanuts.”

And that’s pretty much what we get – mere words, however, do them an injustice.

They’re fantastic!

 

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Here is the plain debali we share.

In addition to the above-listed ingredients, there is also much sev (crunchy noodles).

Sandwiched between the halves of a quite delicate, brought-in white bun, the ingredients amount to a flavour and texture sensation unlike anything we’ve ever before consumed.

The spice levels are profound yet mild.

The peanuts and the sev add crunch.

 

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The cheese debali is identical except for the cheese!

And the cheese is quite cheesy and abundant, meaning this debali actually reminds us of a regular burger.

Neither of us have much use for the accompanying tamarind chutney but we’ve enjoyed our, um, “burgers” very, very much.

Having had some idea what we would be served, the surprise element is low for myself.

But for Bennie, the very concept of “vegetarian burgers” has summoned up nightmare visions of regular burger makings + lentil patties.

So, yes, I’ve really, really enjoyed his surprise and delight at having his low, grim expectations defied!

Our debalis have been quite filling but we also enjoy another chaat selection chosen at the suggestion of our server as being one of the restaurant’s more popular dishes.

Hyderabad tikki chaat ($8.90, top photo) is described as “tikki (i.e. cutlet or rissole) made of potatoes, spinach, stuffed with channa dal and dryfruit masala and topped with chutneys and curd”.

We like it a lot.

The tikkis are delicate and there’s a lot of liquid of one sort or another – this comes across to us as a form of dumpling soup!

There’s so much to explore at Gujju’s, we devoutly wish it WAS situated in the Indian province of West Footscray.

 

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