I love India. I went in January 2010 and it was the coldest, foggiest, and culture-shockiest (yes, I make up words) adventure I’d ever had. I was colder in India than I was in Europe. I stayed in Delhi and slept in hotels and also with a host-family who were just the loveliest people ever. My host family and their friends were very careful to make sure that I ate beautiful, safe and mild food so at no time I ended up attached to the loo (I didn’t get Delhi Belly once). Although I had a break from Indian food (for about one week) when I returned to Australia, travelling to India confirmed my love of Indian food and introduced me to many food not commonly found in Australia. I love me some Injun. I cook it, eat it and buy it whenever possible. I got to eat some this week.
So I went to Gandhi’s mid-week for a friend’s birthday. It’s one of two Indian places in Southbank and the other one doesn’t really rate. Gandhi’s is quite established at Southbank, and although it has, at times, received some rough reviews, I took a deep breath and recommended it when my friend wanted to some ideas.
The first mistake I made was forgetting that my friend’s fiancé wasn’t there, so it was a big old pussy party, plus Ben. Poor Ben. He really is a champ, although he can’t complain too much as he knows all the girls well. Many beers were had, so hopefully that made up for it.
A table was set up in the outside area. Plenty of water was supplied. We decided against starters as curry can be quite filling and ordered a variety of dishes, including Dahl Makhni, Paneer Saag and an Eggplant (Aubergine) Curry. Ben and I ordered Roti with ours as well and everyone ordered rice. Rice was $2.50 per person and we each ordered separately. I think if there was an option to order a large serve for the table, that would have made ordering easier. Of course you want rice with your curry!
Drinks and food were served promptly (it was a Tuesday night, so it was a quiet night).Most of us ordered medium heat but I didn’t really think it was hot. Ben thought his medium was more mild than my medium. If that makes sense. I ordered a Mango Lassi thinking I might need it, and it was pleasant but not necessary for accompanying the curries. The roti (a wholemeal bread and usually less oily than naan) was soft and well cooked.
I had ordered the Dahl Makhni, which is dahl (lentil curry) with kidney beans. It often has a more interesting taste than straight dahl to me. I avoid ordering vegetable dahl at restaurants, as nothing is more disappointing than frozen vegetables in your dinner when you’re paying over $10 for your meal. My meal had a nice, rich flavour. Ben’s paneer saag (sort of cottage cheese cubes, but much nicer than that, in a spinach curry sauce) was rather mild for his taste. He liked the paneer cubes but found the saag part a bit disappointing. Our friend who ordered the eggplant curry thought hers was nice.
Gandhi’s is on the expensive side of Indian, in my opinion. We paid just under $65 for two curries and rice, two roti, a mango lassi and two beers. Vegetable curries were $16-$19, which is without rice. We usually get Indian curries for around $15. That would be the top end. Vege curries tend to be a bit cheaper than meat, so it was nearly $20 for some of the curry options on the menu. I found the food ok. There was nothing that was poorly done, we found the service just fine, quick and helpful. There was absolutely nothing wrong, but nothing that was brilliantly done. I’ve heard some reviewers say that this is inauthentic Indian. I couldn’t see anything that was inauthentic about it (always look for Chicken Tikka Marsala on Indian menus. It’s a British dish and a good giveaway. I forgot to look this time around). I found it mild, but nice. I had a decent meal, but I’d expect to for the price we’d paid. I might not go our of my way to go back with Ben, but I’d go back with friends.