Amrutha Authentic Indian Cuisine, 552 Barkly Street,West Footscray. Phone: 9913 3794
Team Consider The Sauce tonight numbers four for the purposes of checking out the newest addition to West Footscray’s line-up of Indian restaurants.
As the restaurant was being put together behind papered windows, two of us had wondered if the new place would specialise in some way to provide it a point of difference from its many competitors.
The answer is – no.
Amrutha’s menu is long a covers all the expected bases.
Go to the joint’s website here for a looking at the full list, including prices.
The place has scrubbed up a treat – quite a lot of money has been spent.
And the main room is a good deal larger than we were expecting to be the case given the hair salon it replaces.
The furniture and fittings are pure Franco Cozzo.
We admire with interest the breakfast list, which includes all your dosas and a lot more.
But we go a la carte from the body of the menu.
Among our choices are a couple of Indo-Chinese selections …
Gobi manchurian ($7.99) and …
… chicken 65 ($8.99) are enjoyable but wet where we have been expecting dry.
My eyes invariably light up whenever I see a menu that features eggplant, so eggplant curry ($10.99) has been ordered at my instigation.
Again, our expectations come into play – maybe unfairly.
The menu does mention a “rich cashew nut and special sauce”, but this seems to me more of an unbearably creamy spread with eggplant flavour.
It’s something I’d be happy spreading on toast.
Moving right along, we start to get into things more hearty and flavoursome of the kind we have been seeking.
Lamb Madras ($11.99) is very nice, its rich gravy hiding lots of fine meat chunks.
Chicken chettinad ($12.99) is likewise very good, with its gravy of “yogurt sauce with crushed black peppercorn, herbs and spices”.
Palak paneer ($9.99) is a doozy, its silky cheese pieces swimming in a wonderfully almost-smoky gravy.
Another high point for us are the $1.99 naan that avoid photographic scrutiny – sorry!
These are super, and appear to have been made – as one of my tablemates points out – using “wholemeal flour with all the bran removed”.
The result is like a cross between a regular naan and a roti.
We’ve enjoyed our meal but are left wondering about the wisdom of our choosing, what sort of wonders Amrutha has hiding in its menu – and whether the more snacky or one-person dishes may be the go here.
So I sneak back a few nights later for an early dinner by myself – biryani.
My default choice of chicken is unavailable, so I’m happy to go with the lamb ($11.99).
Even though the lamb almost always used in biryanis – you’ll see it in the markets labelled as “lamb curry” – is often more bone than meat.
No such problem here – the plentiful meat comes easily from the bones and is flavoursome and surprisingly tender.
The rice is somewhat darker than usual, and the fried onions are more than a garnish here – there’s lots of them and they’re fully integrated into the rice.
The biryani picture is completed by a fine gravy that is salty and peanutty and a raita chunky with cubed carrot.
My biryani is very good and fully up there with those available elsewhere in Footscray.
Maybe for me next time the chole bhature ($11.99).
Or perhaps the puri ($8.99), which – according to the in-house printed menu – are served thali-style with a handful of small accompanying bowls of goodness.
I and many other residents boycott a lot of these Indian restaurants. It is ridiculous to see them popping up all the time, how they make a buck is beyond me. The great news is they wont be around forever, it wont be Little India in a few years time. The street is changing, 540, POD, and the new flasho Italian place on its way. Goodbye Little India….hello reality!
Hi Col! Numbers aside, not everyone shares the views of you and your friends. Besides, your claim that in a few years it’ll be case of “Goodbye Little India” appears to be wishful thinking – unless you know something?
Hi Col, not sure I agree with your sentiments but understand where you’re coming from. If you follow #wefo conversations on Twitter it seems your view is shared by a fair few folk.
But I’ve heard that the vast bulk of commercial property in West Footacray is locked up by old school landlords who aren’t fussed one way or another about demographic changes in the area. So it may be quite some time until there is a sea change on Barkly.
Col, restaurants, like most businesses, operate on the basic principles of supply and demand. When entrepreneurial people see potential demand, they open restaurants in the hope of making money by being part of the supply.
The simple fact that new Indian restaurants are opening indicates that your imagined whitewashing of West Footscray is a lot further away than you hope, if anything it looks like the area is becoming more multicultural, not less.
Its not about whitewashing, I am far from racist and I love Indian food. We need diversity, even a Vietnamese would be more refreshing.
Thanks for that.
Tone and intent can be difficult to ascertain on online forums.
But even then, given some of the words and phrases you used in your earlier comment, I can’t say I’m surprised some people who read them came to what you might consider erroneous conclusions.
I hear ya and having a re-read today it did read a bit on the arrogant side.