Pandu’s, 351 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 8307 0789
We haven’t eaten at Pandu’s for a good long while and we’re excited to be back.
Even more so because among our group of six are two people who have pretty much eaten the inner west dry but have yet to dine at this Footscray Indo-Chinese institution.
And there’s two others have never tried Indo-Chinese at all!
After we enter and a get a table, I realise there have been changes at Pandu’s.
There’s more people in the kitchen.
The prices have crept up – but not too much.
And there’s a new menu that considerably broadens Pandu’s previously hardcore Indo-Chinese line-up.
There’s biryanis, dosas and – oh yes! – cholle bhatrua and pooris with potato maslala.
Most of those will have to wait for another day, however, as we stick – with one exception – to Indo-Chinese.
One member of our group is quite taken with idea of nachos salad as spied on the online menu – as am I.
So we order two.
What we get is, well, weird.
Doritos drizzled with some yogurt and sprinkled with not a lot of cheese, onion and greenery.
It’s OK to nibble on before our more fully cooked goodies arrive.
In quick time, arriving at our table are …
… vegetable manchurian …
… cauliflower 65 and …
… pepper fish.
By unanimous acclaim, the fish is our meal’s big winner.
Encased in a delicious but not particularly peppery coating are gorgeously tender and tasty chunks of white fish.
As Josh says: “I could eat these all night!”
The gobi and vegetable ball dishes – standard orders for Bennie and I at Pandu’s – are good, too, though a little wetter than we’ve had on previous occasions.
We bulk up our meal by ordering another standard for us …
… veggie hakka noodles as well as …
… veggie Singapore fried rice.
Both are simple but very good in that trans-national way that we usually expect more of the food from Malaysia or Singapore but which is right at home with Indo-Chinese.
Finally, we also enjoy a fine chicken biryani – which I forget to photograph!
Bennie and I reckon the portion sizes of non-carb Indo-Chinese selections may have been a bit smaller than on previous visits – but that could be because there’s so many pals with us tonight and the food disappears quickly.
As well, we note that the shredded cabbage is of a rougher cut that makes it less appealing to incorporate into our meal, and that the gobi, fish and vegetable balls are not adorned with the usual jumble of chillis, curry leaves, onion and capsicum.
But still, these are minor quibbles – Pandu’s remains our go-to place for Indo-Chinese.
I have not kept track of prices as I expect to just call up the Pandu’s website when I get home.
But now I discover the prices there are not up to date!
But here’s the biz – for all of the above food, and a fine meal, the six of us pay a few bucks over $90.
That is, about $15 each!