Quality Cafe, 1116-1118 Glenhuntly Road, Glen Huntly. Phone: 9571 5544
Just for a change for Saturday lunch, Bennie and I are really happy to be heading over to Nat’s side of town instead of trolling around the inner west.
As we had discussed where to meet, I’d pointed out to Nat that he’d long been posting on Facebook great-looking photographs of funky ethnic food from funky ethnic eateries in his own extended neighbourhood … so how ’bout we try one of them.
The joint selected, Quality Cafe, is just the sort of place I had in mind.
It’s a newish. bare-bones Indian cafe with an adjoining grocery.
It’s also, as the signage points out, “100% vegetarian”.
That’s fine by us!
The menu (see below) boasts quite a nifty list of snack and chaat items, as well as dosas, bahji and chole bhatura.
We collectively sidestep all that with little mucking around and go the thali route.
My “Quality Thali” ($12.50) is a winner in almost every way.
I love the sambar, dal and cracking, creamy pea-and-cheese curry.
The vegetable biryani, not so much.
Plain rice, raita, tangy pickle and roti complete the picture.
As neither of them have eaten breakfast, Nat and Bennie both go for the bigger “Weekend Thali” ($15), which is the same deal plus a potato-based vegetable curry and a cauliflower curry.
I reckon I could live on this kind of food.
It’s humble, delicious and inexpensive.
But what knocks me out about the Quality Cafe thalis is the presentation.
Each dish is presented in its own bowl, with all placed upon a steel platter.
How lovely they all look, bequeathing on a quick Saturday lunch a heightened sense of occasion way beyond the modesty and affordability of the food at hand.
How I wish more Melbourne’s Indian restaurants – including those of the west – took such care in finessing their thalis.