When the Gandhi family sold their beloved Indian restaurant Bombay by Night in 2015 after 35 years, it left a big, pakora-shaped hole in the hearts of many. But after a couple of years off, for chef and father Jaspal to take a break, and for son and front-of-house Ravnish to experiment with living back in India, only to find his family and Melbourne's coffee an irresistible drawcard – they're back.
Cafe Southall (named after London's Little India area) is a much more intimate operation than Bombay by Night, seating 35 on its velvet banquettes and handmade bentwood chairs under a wall of family photos.
The breakfast and lunch menu is a refreshing rendering, heavy on vegetarian options with an unmistakable Melbourne stamp.
There's Dukes coffee to go along with your chai muesli or Persian scrambled eggs. There's onion uthappam (a fermented rice pancake, thicker than a dosa, topped with veg and an optional fried egg) or Gippsland beef kebabs cooked in the tandoor for lunch.
Dinner is inspired by British-Indian cuisine, with chicken tikka masala and lamb dopiaza as well as slow-cooked biryanis.
Open Tue-Sun 8.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-9pm.
124 Carlisle Street, St Kilda, 03 9537 3496, cafesouthall.com