Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mi Casa Contemporary Spanish Tapas, Port Macquarie

All right, this is about Port Macquarie. First evening and we decide to venture out to the local market to see how the vibrancy is. Well, Port Macquarie to begin with, impressed me because I have to admit it is the sole place with has so many fine dining eats and restaurants, it’s simply unbelievable. Its simply amazing. I have been across Australia – Cairns, Gold Coast, Tassie, Melbourne, Adelaide. Well if you exclude the bigger cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, etc. I got to admit, I have not seen so many good fine dines option. 

In NSW, in particular- I have travelled and stayed at various places- Jervis Bay, Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour, Narooma, or inlands- Dubbo Orange and all- but most places have may be one or two. But PM has so many. Wow! However, if you are in time you get the best. If you aren’t, you might not find food at all. First day we got lucky. Second and third day- we struggled to get dine in at any place since it was 9:00 P.M. the kitchens simply close. Also it was August, but port Macquarie was far too quiet on a Friday and Saturday- and that was until we passed the bars and realized most are away drinking.

However, like most Aussie towns, it sleeps at 8:30 and at 9:00 you may risk either going for pub food or Subways or Macca’s. 

On our first night, we check into our luxurious hotel and then after some rest, head out into the town. We look at a number of options, and decided to give a try to a Contemporary Spanish joint called Mi Casa. Situated right at the town center, pime location and its near the water- the place where all the painted stones start. There is an outdoor seating long with heating available, outside the restaurant, more like on the corridor outside. The inside of the restaurant is cozy and to my surprise- all full. Now I am usually skeptical to the concept of Tapas, as I usually find it too less quantity and more expensive. Nonetheless we settle in.

Initially I thought we would probably go for a couple of tapas to taste and then go for a main course each.

One look at the other tables and we realize that this place has a very good serving portion for Tapas. We reconfirm with the waitress and she seconds it. Mentions that two mains for two people might be too much and suggest may be 3-4 starters.
A look at the menu, and looks good value as well. To begin with I order the Sangria. Its pretty good, and much better than the one I had last time- I think at Teatro, Mebourne. Light, slightly sweet and fruity.

In the Tapas, we order the Gambillas Al Ajillo – the prawns. This is basically a prawn tapas, which comes in a bowl with a mild jus. The prawns are unbelievably fresh. And the freshness was wow. And the jus of white wine, along with lemon juice, garlic and the occasional chilli slices. The jus was slightly sweet, slightly tangy and buttery. The strands of shallots and sprouts added to the crunch and freshness. So basically I loved the dish.

Next we ordered the Patatas Brava- which were the crunchy potato wedges, stacked up like a square maze, and had a green chutney of some sorts and a tomato  salsa, and some aioli.  Ful marks on the presentation. Taste was good, and the fresh jullelines of veggies added the crunch. Liked it. Pretty good.

Next came the Champinones Al Ajillo or the mushrooms. This looked similar to the prawns dish we ordered initially except it was with mushrooms. Dug in and well, the mushrooms were ok. The sauce however, was just ok. While the just with the prawns was great- this one I think was made with sherry and had very different flavor. Its difficult to describe, but this one- I didn’t like. Too similar to the prawns one and the sauce wasn’t too my taste. So a no no from me.

Next came the star of the evening. The Costillas  de Cordero. It was the slow cooked lamb ribs. When I was ordering this one, I wasn’t too sure and had double minds- because lamb does have a strong fragrance of its on- of which I am not too much of a fan. So I was debating if it should be the lamb or the chicken. Nonetheless I went for the lamb and boy I am proud of myself. When it came, it just melted my heart and made me fall in love at first sight. The lamb was beautiful looking, caramelised. It was like small rack, and it looked soft and tender, and brown and sticky gooey from the top. It reminded me of the masterchef contest with the barbeques and we had Jessica cook up some wicked sticky and gooey barbeque.

As I dug in, I was amazed with the softness of the lamb. One bite and I knew this was one of the best  lamb I was eating. It was caramelised and little crispy on the top. The next layer was simply juicy, wet, and the layers of fat had melted and made it irresistible. It was topped with chives and shallot slices which made it colorful. Served on a bed of yellow rice. The taste was sweet- not too overpowering but lovely. I really enjoyed it and  must have. Very very highly recommended.

The portions were good size and were costing on an average $15 – $20. A meal for two – with four tapas and a white and sangria  was about $70-$80.

All in all, I would love to visit this place for tapas and it has made my skepticism go away with tapas and I am eager to try out more.

TEL (02) 65 844 559
2 Horton Street Port Macquarie

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Casa Cafe and Restaurant on Zomato

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dahab Café, Dubbo, NSW

All right, our first morning at Dubbo. While I didn’t expect too much out of Dubbo too much and it was quite a small town just like any other Aussie towns. One main street with most shopping and eateries. The evening and night was about okay – not with too many choice. Next morning, we woke up early, and went for the early guided morning walk to Taronga zoo from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and let me tell you, it is a must if you go to the zoo. Anyways after the morning walk for two hours and without any food, we were starving. Checked out of the hotel and decided to go for breakfast to the town across the river and settled for Dahab Café- A Mediterranean Touch which had a number 1 rating in trip adviser as well.

It was a cloudy day and bit windy. Dahab, was in a parallel street to the main street. A town house with seating inside and outside. We decided to settle outside in the open air. Looked at the menu and decided to firstly order two cups of coffee.
Over all the travelling in Australia over the last few years, my craving for a great brekkie persists, however, it doesn’t seem to get fulfilled as most combinations seem to be around the same big brekkie, or eggs Benedict. So I have really been looking for places and cafes with an alternative and innovative menu. Seeing the word Mediterranean, I turned hopeful.

Next I decided to order the brekkie with the sourdough, avocado, poached eggs and a tomato chickpea salsa. The other dish which my friend ordered was the sourdough with spinach mushroom Parmesan avocado. We waited for some time and the coffee’s came over. Good strong coffee. Next the brekkies arrive, looks great. My brekkie has two pieces of toasted sourdough, a neatly sliced avo, and two beautifully poached eggs. Perfect. But what set aside this breakfast is the tomato bowl. This is quite interesting- it is like a tomato puree bowl filled with chickpeas, olives topped with loads of feta cheese. The taste of the tomato was quite sour. The olives added to the acidity and perhaps the saltiness of the feta neutralized the sour taste. All in all, it was about ok, although I wish the tomato had a bit more taste and a bit less or sourness.

The other brekkie was the avo mushroom toast. Two pieces of the sourdough, topped with spinach, sauteed mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and avocado. Descent brekkie.

So all in all it’s a descent place. Yes do go there. The produce was fresh. There were loads of rooms inside the town house which have different seating options. The service was good, although it did tale a bit of time to serve up the brekkies. It’s a good joint to visit, catch up on breakfast and then head over to the zoo. Affordable, descently priced, a brekkie for tow cost us about $45.

197 Brisbane Street, Dubbo, NSW
02 6884 5320

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Cafe on Zomato

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dum Dum Dumplings, Orange, NSW

All right, this one is about a night at Orange, NSW. Now for those who have been here in Australia and know NSW, would know that Orange is always positioned as the food capital. A place with loads of wines, fresh produce of vegetables and fruits, cafes and culinary delights. So we drive down one day, start from Dubbo, into Parkes, and then into Orange. As we arrive into orange, it suddenly starts raining and the temperature plummets down to 4 degrees and icy cold winds.
It’s a Sunday night and we venture into the main street of the town in search of dinner. Now unfortunately again, it’s the quintessential Aussie town which perhaps sleeps at 8 P.M. Not too many options. We start to search for Sweet and Sour, but that’s shutdown. Most cafes have closed. For dinner, we have two Chinese restaurants, but they are all covered with curtains and looks dodgy. Next we have an Indian restaurant booked for a party. There is  Japanese place, but not too keen with Jap. A few kebab shops and pizza place. But this is not why you come to Orange. You come to Orange to eat good food, quality produce and some fancy cooking. Unfortunately for us, the Sunday night is dead and we are almost on the verge of going to one of the fast food- pizza capers when we see a place called the Dum Dum Dumplings. Looks very big shop and very basic and elementary. A few boys sitting inside. Now of course for me Chinese here is quite different to what I have in India. So I am not too keen but decide to check it out. One look at the menu and what draws us is that there are chicken dumplings. Wow. That’s quite unusual. Its so cold that we decide to at least have a hot bowl of soup before we head back to get Pizza’s.
So we order a Chicken Sweet Corn Soup and Chicken Dumplings. The soup comes in a its quite a serving. For a $5 soup, the two of us finish off the sweet corn soup. Its delicious, hot, loads of chicken, slightly sweet. Loved it. Next came the dumplings. We ordered the boiled or the steamed ones, and they served 10 pieces. Lucky for the two of us bro’s. Start popping the piping hot dumplings and they are lovely and delicious. Juicy minced chicken with some shallots in the center and works beautifully to warm the soul on such a cold night. I cant say enough and how pleased and satisfied I was after having the chicken dumplings.
I went on to order the spring rolls, the fried rice and the chicken with XO sauce for takeaway. Well the spring rolls were good, except it had pork in it while I thought them to be vegetarian. The chicken with XO sauce was descent as well- good serving size and freshly made to order.

So all in all, while Orange turned out to be a damper, Dum Dum dumplings was definitely a good find and I loved the hot soup and dumplings on a cold icy night. It’s a very economical restaurant. Average price of dish is $13~$15. I would definitely go here, if I am in Orange – to have the dumplings.

Dum Dum Dumplings
Between Red Pepper Indian and Mr Sushi King
305 Summer Street Orange NSW

02 6361 1683

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Thar Indian Cuisine, Dubbo

All Right, this one about Dubbo. As we head into Dubbo via Mudgee from Sydney at about 3 PM, we checked into the hotel and went down to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Dubbo like any Aussie town other than Sydney and Melbourne, is a small town and becomes very quite after 7~7:30 P.M. While the online world and view did state there were a number of cafes and restaurants, in reality when we walked to the main street, numbers were very limited.yes the regular fast food chains were all open- Macca’s, Pizza Hut, Subway, Red Rooster, but who wants to have that anyways on a holiday.

For us, there was a Spanish tapas joint, a pizza place, kebab house, a Chinese joint and the Indian place. There was one fine dining joint in Dubbo, but may be we were not in the mood that day to go fine dining.

So we opted for the Indian place- called Thar Indian Cuisine. Well, in small towns, I do use the metric to see how well the restaurant is filled and this one had quite a few people. We walked in and this place was abuzz with people. The first things that catches you is the décor. There are basic indian eateries and then there those that make it too Indian with the stereotyped artefacts and antiques. This one was interesting because it did have the stereotyped one, but with a difference. They had hanged long coloutful dupatta’s from the ceiling and given them a knot. Along with them a few rajasthani artefacts like the puppets and all.

The restaurant had a mother son duo running the show. We looked around and there were mostly Aussie families, and hardly any Indians. Wow! Must be good. We ordered for the Fish Fry and the Pudina Chicken Tikka for starters. For mains we settled for a simple Panchmel Daal- which was a combination of 5 daals. Also ordered the roti’s.

The food arrived in some time. Ill be honest. The pudina tikka was a bit of a sad affair. While I checked at ordering that it didn’t have the overly red coloured tikka paste on it, wen it came, it appeared to have a green basting on the top of the chicken tikka.  I expected it to be heavy with flavors of mint, coriander, chilies. Unfortunately, the chicken tikka’s were cold, and not too tasty. On a cold night, it would have been great if these were piping hot and flavorsome. It seemed to me it was merely reheated or microwaved.

The next dish was the Fish pakoda and this one was great. I loved it. Bassa fish dipped in a batter and deep fried. Served piping hot, the batter had a good flavorsome coating and with the fish, it tasted great. I loved it. Simply put, it was tasty and yum. The god part was that the golden batter of besan, which was deep fried was not overtly spiced or adventurous and sometime you just love the basics.

Next in the main course came the Panchmel Daal- which I believe is a mixture of five lentils slow cooked. Normally in Indian restaurants, you get served either the black lentils or the yellow ones. This one seemed interesting as it had a mixture of 5 lentils. It was served in a small little cute bucket. The daal was extremely flavorsome. I loved it again. Simply dal and roti- but tasted so wow. The daal wasn’t too spiced, medium spiced and flavored and quite thick in consistency. So all in all, again a good dish. I never thought I would say this, but I would have never got a daal packed and done for a takeaway from the leftovers- but I did so here.

Later I did speak to the owner and they did mention that they were previously a takeaway joint and from last one year, they opened the restaurant. I think it’s a descent place- has god promise of doing better. In  a remote place like Dubbo, good to see an Indian joint doing well. What I liked was the family feeling and humbleness of the owners and all working towards a common goal.

A word of advise though the the owners would be to remove the takeaway counter which they have put in the main hall. Although its empty, people might be mislead to think that all food is pre cooked and served repeatedly again and again.

The website is quite good and it seems it gets a lot of online orders.

11.30 AM to 2.30 PM
5.30 PM to till  late
Saturday, Sunday & Monday Dinner only
Ph. 02 68849345
1/10 Cobra Street

(Takeaway & Dine In)
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Little Snail, Sydney

All right, a team lunch and we decide to go for French cuisine. We get a recommendation for The Little Snail, although we were told that people who are aware of the actual French cuisine call this one as not French enough. Nonetheless, we see a positive and wonder if it’s probably a good way to start our journey into the French cuisine by going with the hybrid first.
Now this one is located in Pyrmont. Just as you walk across the bridge on Darling Harbor, you see the little snail on the left. We had reservation done prior and arrived for lunch. Now location wise and décor wise, pretty chic. The staff was courteous and definitely seemed to have a French accent- at least the ones to our tables.
Now as we settled in, the menu was a three course lunch for a fixed amount of $38. You get to choose an entrée, a main course and a dessert. Additionally, if you want to get breads etc, that’s extra. Well there were four of us, so we did get to taste quite a bit of variety.

Let’s start with the entrée’s. There was the salt and pepper squid, which I ordered. Pretty good. A stack of calamari, crunchy on the outside, served with some rocket and spicy mayonnaise or the cornichons aioli. Look, I liked it. The calamari wasn’t too chewy or stringy. It had the crunch and I liked it.

Next was the King Prawns, fried and served with lemon Mayo and sweet chilli. Again, great stuff. Loved it. The sweetness of the prawn, with the crunchy coating of the batter, and balance with the sweet chilli. My friend who normally has allergies to prawns and avoids it, simply couldn’t stop raving about the prawns.

Next starter was the Pate Maison. Now I don’t know what the whole description meant, but it read Armagnac flavored duck liver pate with marinated champignons and date chutney and port vinaigrette. Let me tell you, when the dish arrived, it was breath taking. Looked very polished and fancy with a pate cylinder topped with date chutney in the centre and marinated mushrooms all around with a slight brown sauce. Looked just to master chef. So visually, looked very appealing. Served with bread slices, I tried it and somehow didn’t like the taste at all. May be not too attuned to duck liver pate, but taste wise this was quite the opposite and I didn’t like it, and neither did my friend. May be we aren’t used to pate’s.
The last starter was the Escargots De Bourgogne- a dozen snails marinated in herb infused court bouillon, oven baked in garlic butter. Again, visually very appealing. I have never had snails before and wasn’t quite sure what this was all about.  The dish looked good. An array of snail placed on a large white plate with a buttery and herb sauce. Very cautiously I tried the snail. You had to pull out the snail from the shell. It was a black kind of snail and tasted rubbery. The butter sauce was good, but perhaps I wasn’t too sure if I will have the snail again.

Coming to the mains, me and my friend ordered the Chicken Cordon Bleu. It was supposed to be a skin free chicken breast stuffed with Swiss cheese and ham, lightly coated with panko and with a tomato and basil coulis.  Again, with this being the only chicken dish and I wasn’t too keen to try either the fish or the lamb. There was always this wishful thinking about what if I get an awesome chicken dish with some crispy skins and all. Now when the dish came over, looked good, although a bit different from what I expected. It was a chicken breast with a golden crumb which had been fried with a tomato sauce on top of it. Served with a broccoli and a stack of square potato slices. As we started eating and dug in, unfortunately, this was not what I was looking forward to. To be honest this reminded me more of chicken parmiagna, with a crumb fried an topped with a tomato sauce. To me, while the chicken was juicy and succulent, it lacked flavors and salt. The whole dish lacked flavor. A few slices more and there was ham and cheese in the center. Now, if you are not used to having ham, please don’t order. The Swiss cheese was all molten and wow, but again, it didn’t bind the dish together. So a big disappointment for me in the mains. My second friend who ordered the same dish had similar views. 

The next mains was the Seafood Plate- which had a grilled salmon, garlic prawns, salt and pepper squid, chilli mussels and beer battered soft shell crabs and a salad. Overall, lot of fish and lot of fried stuff. For a fish lover like my friend, she loved it and every bit of it. For me who doesn’t like too much fish, I’d probably politely give it a pass. But yes, I’d say it’s a good dish, well presented, that I was tempted to dig in for a few nibbles.

Next came the desserts. Two of my friends ordered a sticky date pudding. When it was served, it looked gorgeous. A neat circular portion of sticky date pudding, topped vanilla ice cream. On top of this there was a delicate round maze of wafer thin butter scotch. To my Indian friends, it resembled a jalebi. The whole stack on a white plat with a syrup all around. Looked immaculate and tasted good. The warm pudding with the ice cream and the crunchy butterscotch maze. Wow. I would have gone on and on, but the real treat of the dessert was what I ordered. And as much as I hate to loathe and glorify myself, it was truly one of those moments when I virtually patted myself on the back and said – good you mate.. Well done PK, you are a star to have ordered such an awesome dessert. I had ordered the Kahlua Infused Chocolate Mousse. Well, as it was presented, it took my breath away. I was hypnotised, and I felt like singing that song, “ Baby, thought Id died and gone to heaven” or Bryan Adams Heaven. A neat elliptical chocolate cylinder, standing tall like a tower.  And inside this cylinder was chocolate mousse. Topped with a strawberry, this looked real ultra chic. The taste fantastic. The chocolate cylinder was a thin chocolate covering wafer which was frozen and solidified and tasted of dark chocolate. Inside, there was a chocolate mousse, which had  distinct aromatic and taste of Kahlua, and tasted delicious. Trust me, it is one of the bet deserts I have had.  If I had a chance, I would go again to little snail and have this again.
So overall, mixed reviews. Starters were good, mains not really and an out of the world dessert. Was it French enough? Not that I know too much, but didn’t seem to be too much French cuisine. May be the snails and the pate. But then fish, salmon, chicken breast, all seemed to be may be modern Australian, but not really French.
Would I visit again here? May be not, except for the desert. So a very average feedback from me. You can have good ambience, location, French accented staff, but the food is not exceptionally out of the world.


Phone: 02 9212 7512
Fax: 02 9211 6706

50 Murray Street
Pyrmont NSW - Sydney

Opening Hours:
Monday - Thursday
12pm - 3pm & 5.30pm - 9pm

Friday - Saturday
12pm - 3pm & 5.30pm - 10pm

12pm - 3pm & 5.30pm - 9pm

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ashgrove Cheese Factory

All right, if you are in Tassie and around Launceston- this one is a must. Well, we had landed at Launceston Airport, picked up our car and started driving towards Devonport on the Bass Highway, about 70kms from the airport, you come across the Ashgrove Cheese Factory. Well, to me the excitements was because – one it was cheese and second, I have always seen Ashgrove cheese products at the local woollies or coles all the time. To see the place of origination of a brand is always excitement. Well, there is a big board or the highway with signs to the factory.  As you park and go towards the shop, there are award winning cow sculptures.

Now initially I thought this would be like a big industrial factory, but it wasn’t that big. You head into a small shop and as you enter and look around, you realize, that the cheese is being made right beyond the glass walls. There are 
  cheese making vats and it takes about 10 liters of milk to make about 5 kgs of cheese. And while the area looked small, it had two vats which can store about 10,000 litres of milk for processing which in turn produces about 1 tonne of cheese.

Further down and there was the storage area where stacks and stacks of cheese were held. There is an open counter where you can go for cheese tasting. The factory shops focusses on milk, cheese tasting, jams, marmalade and sauces. Other products such as Tasmanian wine, almonds and cashews are also sold.
Coming to the cheese tasting, you just got to do it. Loads of variety such as the premium vintage cheese, rubicon red, wasabi favoured cheese are all there for tasting. Just lovely. You can buy the various cheese packs or get one of the mixed packs like the beer lovers cheese which has 5 variety’s of cheese.

Further, there is a small café in house which does coffee’s, hot chocolate etc. In addition the do this cheese sandwich, which is so out of the world. Unbelievable. It’s a Ashgrove Havarti  cheese, avocado, chicken and mayonnaise sandwich. Just lovely- the stretched mozzarella, the smoky cheese favors with the avocado and mayo- Beautiful. Must have guys.

Must Must Visit!
Ashgrove Cheese Factory
6173 Bass Highway, Elizabeth Town TAS 7304
(03) 6368 1105

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Mick Hundals Spice Rack, Woolgoolga

All right, we are at Coff’s Harbour over the long weekend in June. We decide to explore a nearby area of Woolgoolga. About 25 kms from Coffs, this place is a small village which has a Sikh Temple. So we head down and visit the temple. Apparently Sikhs have been in this region since the time of the federation. At the temple, you get pamphlets of the Anzac Sikhs- who have fought as Australian forces in the World War I and II. Well Sikhs came in in the early 1900’s and worked in the banana farming and then settled there. As you go ahead of the temple, down into the village center and beyond, you reach Woolgoolga Heads- and there are some superb and breath taking elevated views of the beaches and islands nearby. Now being in this area, I search for food and trust me, at 2 in the afternoon, the options are so limited. A subway, and maybe 1 or 2 cafes. Alongside, there is a wishful thinking if there is a good curry place here, given the large number of Sikhs here. We do come across a couple of Indian grocery stores, but nothing else. This is until I search online and notice that there is a restaurant called Mick Hundel’s Spice Rack. Few reviews but all great reviews. Having my craving for Punjabi style curry, I follow to this place, only to realise it doesn’t open in the afternoon. It only opens from 5 P.M. so we head up to the subway in the afternoon, drive down back towards Coffs, to Sealy Look Out Point and then return back to Woolgoolga in the evening. So a lot of driving. Top it up with the fact that we have to drive back again to Coffs to get the train in the night and a GPS malfunction leads to us driving for another 10 kms until we found a cut and drove back.

  1. So as you can make it, we were getting on the edge and wondering if it was worth all this. Now Mick Hundal’s Spice Rack better be good. When I heard the name, I probably thought wow, what a name. I thought, may be its an Aussie bloke like Gordon Ramsay or someone who is in a remote place and cooks real great curries. Of course, the irony was that I didn’t realise why would an Aussie be selling curry in a place dominated by Sikh’s. Any ways, as we reach and head in, it’s a small little eatery. Very basic. And its got this very family feel to it. Its like a small little cosy home. And this is when we realize, Mick Hundal is actually not an Aussie bloke, but a Sikh gentleman. Came to Australia in the 40’s with a dollar in the pocket and working hard to making it big here. And then he started cooking to follow his dreams and passions.

The eatery is full of pictures of his family, of his wife, his sons, daughters. There are origami birds decorated on the wall and on the tables. A small makeshift bar – having a few bottles on the table. As I walk in, it is his son, who takes us to the table and gives us the menu. There is another table with an Aussie couple dining. The other table has a group of Punjabi boys celebrating birthday over some whiskey.

We settle in and look at the menu and decide to order a tandoori chicken and fish fry for starters, for mains, we ordered the chicken curry and an assortment of breads. As we were ordering, the son of the owner taking the order asked us, if there is anything specific and he can customer the curry for us. So I ended up telling him that I don’t want any of the regular curries like the vindaloo or the butter chicken. He does mention that he can customize the curry and that I should just describe it. Well I do that – tell him that I want the typical home made Punjabi curry with onion and tomatoes paste with coriander and it shouldn’t be those typical creamy curries.

Now we start with our drinks and conversation. It’s a cold night and the craving for a warm curry is high. The décor is very simple and it gives a very family feel to it. The next table has an Aussie couple who are on their way to Queensland. Apparently they do it every year to travel to warmer areas during the winters and every year they stop here. The other table which ad bunch of Indian Punjabi boys, celebrating drinks over their mate’s birthday was quite the thing from India you probably didn’t expect. 

These guys were just wonderful. A few drinks in and then they were speaking in English and then further went to be quite friendly with all of us in the restaurant, including offering free drinks and dishes. Simple boys, clean hearts and open mind, it was good to be in the company of them. They did talk about working in the nearby farms and then the fact that how Coffs Harbour is an area for the growth of blueberries, strawberries and cucumbers. Although it is famous for the big banana and the banana farming, truth is that now Queensland is now the place for banana cultivation.

Coming to the food, well, the fish fry came and so did the tandoori chicken. The fish fry was lovely. It was soft fish dipped in a besan batter and deep fried.  Beautiful Loved it. Especially considering the trauma we faced two nights before when we had the soggy and crappy fish fry in Oberoi’s Indian food. So good fish fry, wouldn’t mind trying again. Next comes the Tandoori chicken. Now tandoori chicken is one which has achieved fame worldwide and hence, has also been corrupted and abused. So while I hoped for something awesome, I hoped it wasn’t abused with incessant color and over spiced chicken. Well, it was my day and the tandoori chicken was perfect. One of the best I have had. Perfectly grilled, well spiced, and succulent chicken. Again I liked it. It had this char grilled burnt flavor on the sides.

Next came the chicken curry and the breads. The chicken curry was just what I wanted an expected. At times, you want the real stuff, the real curry that you get in India, the curry that you make at home. Sometimes, you are just sick of the creamy pre-cooked curries with the predictable taste. You just want fresh cooked gravy. And let me tell you- this was it. Beautiful red color with oil floating on the top, fragrant and flavorsome.

One of the best chicken curries I have had so far in Australia. So as of now, the hidden jewels for me in Australia for the best Indian Chicken Curry is Spice Rack at Woolgoolga and Lync’s Hotel in Narooma.

The breads were good, a bit too generous with the oil or butter. Towards the end of it, we were given Gulab Jamun’s and these were so awesome, seemed fresh and home made. So full marks for the food.

The place is alive like a little Punjabi family. The gentleman Mick, actually in between the cooking comes over and sits down with you, has a drink and shares interesting stories. Its so wonderful to have met Mick, who is like a larger than life figure. He is caring, talks freely, treats you like his own kids and just makes up the evening. I was so enchanted, as he spoke about his days in the 1950’s when he came over to Australia with a dollar and very little education from Punjab and moved onto working in the farms, meeting an Aussie lady here who supported him. An interesting story is how he struggled with English and couldn’t learn, until they did a challenge for him to learn one word every day and in return he gets a beer. It’s just the human determination and kind heartedness, which gets you overwhelmed.

All in All, I am dying to be back here again for the next visit. Loved this place and highly recommended to anyone in the region.

Mick HUndal’s Spice Rack Indian Restaurant
5/31, River Street, Woolgoolga NSW 2456

Ph: 02 6654 1900

Mobile: 0407469001

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