Indian Burrp

Warm welcome: Indian Burrp's interior is a more modern than traditionally Indian.
Warm welcome: Indian Burrp's interior is a more modern than traditionally Indian. Photo: Wayne Taylor

1291 Nepean Hwy Cheltenham, VIC 3192

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Opening hours Mon Closed, Tue-Thu & Sun 5:30 – 10:00 PM, Fri-Sat 5:30 – 11:00 PM
Features Accepts bookings, BYO, Licensed, Vegetarian friendly, Cheap Eats, Gluten-free options, Family friendly, Romance-first date
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 8524 5096

Indian Burrp aims to position itself as Cheltenham's fancier Indian restaurant, and invites its diners to let rip and burp after they've eaten. That explains the name, which has an extra 'r' for onomatopoeic effect. It is, according to the gracious host, an Indian tradition to burp after a meal as a way of saying the food was really tasty.

While black-outfitted staff stop short of whooping-up diners, seated on high-backed banquettes behind linen-dressed tables twinkling with tea lights, into burping, they might nod encouragingly when asked about the name.

This interest in customers' bodily functions might be the owners' way of getting people chatting but it is also representative of the place's personal, attentive service – one of the qualities that makes it a bit more high end. The fitout is also a little upmarket, more modish-modern than overtly Indian.

The signature Burrpie chicken is among the nearly 100 dishes on the menu.
The signature Burrpie chicken is among the nearly 100 dishes on the menu. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Black banquettes run the length of the long room along both walls, which have contrasting ornate wallpapers, one with a touch of bling. The floor is polished concrete, and the runway down the centre of the room, leading back to the kitchen, is illuminated by 50-plus woven light fittings hanging in pairs from the ceiling. It gives the appearance of being more pricey than it is.

Most mains on the long menu that's just shy of 100 dishes are from $15 to $20. The ranging menu is to please as many people as possible; there's a very good chance of folks finding their favourite dishes here, be it veg vindaloo, Goan fish curry or rogan josh.

My favourites are here: dhal makhani, black lentils with bite in a thick gravy that is both creamy and tangy, and palak paneer, cubes of fresh cheese in a spinach puree that has grunt (not too creamy or silky) with occasional strips of bright, young ginger. But I'm always keen to try the chef's favourites, too.

Chilli naan gives the classic bread a bit of pow.
Chilli naan gives the classic bread a bit of pow. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Among the chef's specials are chicken hutke (meaning "different"), a northern Indian curry, with a tomato-and-onion base, and chicken thigh pieces.

The malai kofta is also singled out for its long, slow cooking time, and for being flush with fine ingredients, such as cashews.

The dumplings were unlike others I have had, not so potato-heavy, with a more open, crumbly texture, and a good amount of buttery sauce to soak in – though no sultanas were detected, as described on the menu.

Palak paneer - cubes of fresh cheese swimming in spinach puree.
Palak paneer - cubes of fresh cheese swimming in spinach puree. Photo: Wayne Taylor

We settled with a regular "thank you, that was a beautiful meal", which was genuinely appreciated by the staff – and by our fellow diners I reckon, given the alternative.

THE LOW-DOWN
Do …
 Look for the new, expanded wine list around mid-November.
Don't … Think you've heard enough talk about digestion and expelling air while doing so? Grab a spoonful of refreshing fennel candy from the counter on the way out; it will aid digestion, apparently.
Vibe ... Traditional Indian in a mod-Western setting.