Punjabi Curry Cafe, Collingwood

4/15/2018 , , 0 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to Punjabi Curry Cafe in Collingwood to review the restaurant. Located in Johnstone St in Collingwood, the restaurant is a short walk from Smith St and easily accessible by tram 86. Punjabi Curry Cafe specialises in Northern Indian food, and prides itself on high level quality service and food.

The restaurant has minimal decoration; Indian artwork hangs on the walls, and the whole place is basked in a dim lighting. Upbeat Indian music started playing about halfway through our meal, and combined with the chatter from all the patrons made for a cosy atmosphere. The staff were attentive and friendly, and gave us good suggestions when we were deciding what to order.

The dishes we ordered were the Vegetarian Samosa ($8.99 for 2 pcs), Chicken Momos ($10.99 for 6 pcs), the Butter Chicken ($16.99), Lamb Rogan Josh ($16.99), Tadka Daal ($14.99), and a Saffron Rice ($4.99) and Garlic Cheese Naan ($5.5). We also got a Mango Lassi ($4.50), a traditional yoghurt drink with a strong mango flavour that was a refreshing contrast to the spicy and heavy curry flavours in our main dishes. Every table also comes with pieces of papadum (thin crispy cracker) and dipping sauces as a start - tamarind and mint - though I found the papadum itself had enough flavour and you almost didn't need the sauces on the side.

The Vegetarian Samosa consisted of homemade savoury pastry triangles with a spiced potato and green peas filling, with fresh tempered spices and coriander. The pastry used in a samosa is a lot thicker and not as crispy, but holds the filling together well and didn't crumble. The samosa itself was full of flavour and not too oily, with a good spicy flavour that didn't overpower the rest of the flavours.

The chicken momos are steamed Himalayan chicken dumplings that were served with fresh sesame hinted tomato chutney. The dumplings differ to your typical asian dumplings in that there isn't any soup inside, and chicken is used instead of pork. The was a really enjoyable dish (it's actually one of the chef's specials), and the chutney added a slight sourness and spiciness to give the dish that extra hit.

The butter chicken consists of marinated boneless chicken, cooked in butter, coriander, tomato and ginger. The chicken in the dish was extremely soft and tender, with a slightly harder char grilled outer. The curry itself had a sweetness with a slight hint of spice, and was smooth in consistency.

Lamb rogan josh, made up of boneless lamb pieces, was cooked in a housemade spicy onion gravy. This curry is less creamy and more acidic than the Butter Chicken, though still had a smooth consistency. The lamb itself was a bit up and down, the smaller pieces were nice and soft, however the larger pieces were quite dry and tough.

The vegetarian tadka dahl consisted of yellow lentils cooked with spices and tempered with cumin seeds, fresh onion and tomato. This curry has a very grainy consistency, and the natural flavour of the lentils came through quite strongly, almost overpowering everything else in the dish.

All the curries went together really well with the saffron rice and the naan, though the naan had enough flavour by itself that I could've eaten a heap of it! The garlic flavour was strong and aromatic, scattered with bits of cottage cheese specs within the layers of the soft naan. The portion of the curries initially looked quite small for the price, but they turned out to be surprisingly filling.

It was a really enjoyable experience at Punjabi Curry Cafe, worth a visit if you're in the area; a big thank you to the team and Foram for the invite!

Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 8.5/10
Food: 8/10

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