Punjabi Curry Cafe

We were invited to Punjabi Curry Cafe which is located on the more quiet end of Johnston St in Collingwood so parking was easier to find than expected. On the outside the signage makes it look like any other Indian restaurant. However when you enter, you realise how spacious the restaurant really is! It’s a large modernised space with plentiful tables and chairs, and brick arches opening up to other dining areas.

Staff were very friendly and accommodating, allowing us to pick a seat where there would be ample lighting for our photos. After extensively reviewing the menu, we decided to order a range of dishes to share.

We ordered the Mushroom Chilli House Special from their entree list. This dish had mushrooms tossed with onions and capsicums in a homemade garlic chilli soy sauce. The dish was really flavoured and quite nice however the chilli kick was probably lacking. For a dish called Mushroom Chilli we were just expecting it to pack a bit more of the chilli kick but nonetheless it was a nice dish.

For mains we ordered the Butter Chicken, the Goan Fish curry, and the Aloo Gobi which had cauliflower and potato cooked with cumin and spices. We also ordered the Goat Biryani, a garlic cheese naan and a Keema naan which had lamb minced stuffed in the bread.

I’ve always loved butter chicken and so it’s one of those curries I just have to order every time we have Indian as a comparison to other butter chicken dishes I’ve had in the past. Although the dish looked beautiful, I felt the butter chicken here lacked the tomato flavours and was more on the bland side. Similarly both the Goan Fish curry and the Aloo Gobi tasted fine but it didn’t stand out specifically for us. It felt like they were holding back on the flavours. We expected a party in our mouths of flavours, spices and heat but it was very tame for Indian cuisine. It may be that they’ve had to tone down on the flavours and spices to accommodate for their customer preferences, I’m not sure.

The biryani was flavoured but was quite mushy. We haven’t had biryani that wet and soft before. The garlic cheese naan was flavoured quite nice however wasn’t crispy. Davin had the Keema naan which he didn’t feel was very nice so I stuck to my garlic cheese naan.

Overall the restaurant has a lot of potential as their customer service was very good. Staff were super friendly and efficient. The restaurant has great ambience and the layout makes it a really nice place for groups of people to catch up, or for couples to have a nice intimate meal. We just personally felt like the food could have a bit more of the flavours and spiciness we are generally used to as we think there should be no holding back! But that’s just our humble opinion!

Punjabi Curry Cafe
Approx $30 AUD per person
Address: 87 Johnston St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Phone: +61 3 9419 5307
Website: punjabicurrycafe.com.au

Punjabi Curry Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Curry Smuggler

We recently had the pleasure of being invited to dine at Curry Smuggler. In addition to the fact that I love their choice of name for their restaurant (it certainly made me giggle!), I love Indian cuisine and never get an opportunity to eat it as much as I would like to so of course we happily accepted the invitation!

Curry Smuggler is located on the business end of Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, a more quiet location away from the busyness that you would normally see and experience on a Saturday night. On the outside, the restaurant looks like any other, however upon entering, we noted how clean, spacious and modern it was inside.

We were warmly greeted and seated at a window seat which was perfect for us. Being a food blogger, great lighting for our photos is everything and nothing beats natural light! Menus were then provided for our perusal which got me quite excited because there were so many delicious dishes to choose from! It is also worth noting that they also have an extensive vegan menu for all the vegans out there which we thought was very considerate.

We settled with trying the Daaku Di Tangri (Smuggler’s) Drumsticks. With ‘smuggler’ in the title we assumed it must be one of their signature dishes so had to try it out. The dish had chicken drumsticks with a core of lamb mince, marinated in tandoori spices and yoghurt and the chef’s special sauce. This is a dish we’ve never had before and was very interesting. It was strange cutting into the chicken to find pieces of lamb mince attached to it. However the meat was tender and flavoured well. The creamy sauce also complemented it.

For mains we ordered the Butter Chicken (it’s one of those dishes I ALWAYS have to get because I love it so much), which were boneless pieces of tandoori chicken cooked with tomato, spices and a nut cream sauce, the Tawa Goat which was cooked in smoked flavoured traditional curry served with smoked onions and capsicum on a hot plate, the Biriyani Lamb which was lamb cooked with basmati rice, and two garlic naan.

The Butter Chicken was really good! The chicken was tender, and the sauce was cooked perfectly as it was not overly creamy and you can taste more of the tomato flavours in the sauce. The Tawa Goat however was probably the star of the show. The goat meat was SO soft! It literally just melted away from the bone and was flavoured really well with lovely spices and flavours.

The Biriyani Lamb was nice however probably didn’t stand out for us compared to the other dishes. Similarly, the garlic naan was just okay, and interestingly had a bit of salt on it which with some bites may have been too salty for our liking.

Overall it was a lovely experience and we enjoyed the food. The prices are probably more on the expensive side compared to other Indian restaurants we’ve come across, however the servings were quite generous and we were so full when we were done!

Curry Smuggler
Approx $30 AUD per person
Address: 223 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Phone: +61 3 8597 0647
Website: currysmuggler.com.au

Curry Smuggler Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato