22 Katherine Pl Melbourne, VIC 3000
|Opening hours||Monday to Friday 11.30am - 2.30pm, 5.30pm - 9.30pm (Saturday dinners soon),|
|Features||Cheap Eats, BYO, Licensed, Vegetarian friendly|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Payments||eftpos, Cash, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||03 9629 2620|
"It's a puri and it's also a party," says our friendly waiter at Delhi Streets, a new Indian street food eatery that's all about festive fusion. Puri is puffed dough - the Indian version of choux pastry - and it's usually a palm-sized snack. This version is a petite shatter-crisp globe containing curried potato, chickpea and tamarind chutney. That's a party in itself but the real revelry is the vial of spiced broth to be tipped into the puri. It's a one-bite fiesta and a fun, zingy introduction to a cheap, casual, light-hearted restaurant.
The interior evokes a pop version of India with movie posters, roadway signage stencilled on to stools, and table numbers propped in subcontinental soft drink bottles. The kitchen is enclosed in glass – I love seeing what's happening behind the scenes but I get the feeling that this window was installed because the chefs are just as keen to peep at diners enjoying their food. The paper menu rattles off fusion dishes like Indian nachos, burritos and pizza naan. Some creations are rebadged Indian staples: the "nachos" are a reasonably straight rendition of papri chaat, a snack of fried crackers strewn with chickpeas, yoghurt and chutney. Others, like the tandoori chicken pizza naan, are a reclaiming of the western bastardisation of an Indian classic. You could tie yourself in knots with post-colonial culinary theory or you could just tuck into a tasty Indian pizza.
A classics section of the menu includes biryani (rice pilafs, not as fluffy as they could be) and thali (complete meal on a tray). The lamb and chicken curries with the carnivore's thali played the flavours true but the spicing safe. That's a sign that Delhi Streets doesn't bear strict resemblance to the streets of Delhi but it's still a very happy spot for weekday lunch and cheery night-time bites.
Rating: Three stars (out of five)