Ethnic India, 4/2-6 Kilmur Road, Hoppers Crossing. Phone: 9369 4133
Ethnic India is located on the Golden Mile in Hoppers Crossing, on one of the light industrial/commercial precincts that are offshoots of it.
When I Bennie and I arrive for our Sunday lunch, I get a surprise.
I’d visited on my own several months previously for a quick look and lunch.
At that time, I reckoned Ethnic India must have been easily the biggest Indian restaurant in Melbourne, taking up a whole warehouse.
Through the use of screens and such like, efforts had been made to create a separate restaurant space from the bar, functions rooms, kitchen and so on.
But, basically, it was a huge space.
What Bennie and I find is quite different.
The proprietors have pretty much created a building within a building – all the same facilities remain but they are much more strictly defined.
They include a restaurant space that is the typical flash of some Indian places – including tall-backed chairs so lavishly cushioned that, upon sitting, you feel like you are sinking almost until your chin rests on the table.
On this day, there are a heaps of guests arriving for a catered birthday party out back, but we are the only restaurant guests.
The very long menu (see below) is presented on both sides of two wooden paddles.
We proceed to enjoy a fine light lunch.
Onion bhaji ($8.50, top photograph) are less like the Indian-style onion rings we are expecting and more like pakoras.
They’re good, though, and nicely moist. We take two of them home for Bennie’s next-day school lunch.
Cholle bhature is also very good, if a bit pricey at $15 for a snack-style offering.
The chick peas are excellent – they seem fresher than is often the case with this dish and are mildly spiced.
The breads are a tad oily but hot and fine.
The price is ameliorated somewhat by the $15 deal also including this salted “Punjabi style” lassie.
I was fascinated to read this story about biryanis – I had no idea there are so many varieties!
I wish more of them were available in Melbourne!
I think the mostly uniform biryanis we eat in and around West Footscray are of the Hyderabad kind.
The Ethnic India lamb biryani ($15) is a significant contrast.
All is different from what we are familiar with – the seasoning (mild chilli levels); the colour; the inclusion of many currants, cashes and green capsicum pieces; lamb chunks not on the bone but instead of the kind you’d find in a regular curry – most welcome!
There’s a hefty serve of raita on the side to complete a solid offering.
Ethnic India is well worth a try – and parking is a breeze.