Take Me to Babu Ji for New Menu Dishes
by Rachel Mason
If you’re living under the assumption that Indian food is simply curry and rice, prepare to be blown away by the creativity of Babu Ji. Their new winter menu will surely satisfy both the traditionalists and the adventurous, embodying the vibrance and colour that so many associate with Indian culture, while playfully moving into new realms of fusion.
The pairing of warm spices with fresh, European-style garnishes is an artful expression of the uniqueness of this restaurant.
The feast begins with 4 entrées in succession, all wonderfully unique in appearance and taste. The Zucchini Pakora is a Southern Indian style fritter with a crispy exterior, herby pesto and a deep, rich filling.
The Pork Chop and Ajwani Trout (back by popular demand) share the smokey, tandoori flavours yet contrast in accompaniments. While the overnight pickled pork is joined by a creamy swede purée, a thick plum sauce and a zesty spiced dressing (complete with chocolate breadcrumbs - yes, chocolate - sprinkled on top), the trout is delicate and warm. The different layers of flavour balance in a way that allows the aromatic rainbow trout to be the true hero of the dish.
The restaurant’s decor is an interesting reflection of the food; high ceilings in an old Victorian building, with a Bollywood movie playing in the background. The atmosphere is relaxed yet festive, inspired by a team of people who love to share interesting and exciting food with Melbourne public.
Entrées come to an end with the fresh and light Samosa, a burst of sweet and sour. Owner and host, Mani then brings out the mains for which we’ve chosen a Butter Chicken and a new addition to the menu, the Punjabi Kadhi. This exotic Northern Indian curry is made from sour yoghurt gram flour and cauliflower fritters. The aged basmati rice and fresh Raita balance the mild heat and rich texture.
Mani also brings out a serve of Gluten Free Naan - a Babu Ji specialty - and shares about the integrity behind the menu’s many gluten free and vegetarian options. The kitchen just asks for a day’s notice to create tasty vegan alternatives.
Babu Ji offers an extensive range of boutique beer and wine, paying attention to how the beverages pair with the dishes (particularly the diverse entrées).
From the classic to the innovative; the streets to the table, this restaurant has completely expanded our perceptions of Indian food. Babu Ji is Indian food at its innovative best and is world class (note their restaurant in New York). Thank you for your hospitality, Babu Ji.