Despite the fact that Indian is one of the world’s most vegetarian friendly cuisines, I very rarely seem to eat it. I have this thing in my head where if anyone goes to me “What can we eat that’s vegetarian?” I automatically go “Japanese!” Because besides the fact that I have a severe Japanese food addition and will probably need an intervention on that score sometime soon, I just find that vegie Japanese suits my palate more immediately than Indian does, what with its tendency towards knock-you-out curries and complex, rich sauces, it’s kind of the opposite of Japanese. Still, Indian is a gap in my foodie knowledge, and one that I am very keen to fill (goes without saying that if you have Indian foodie reccommendations, fill up the comment section with them, go nuts!).
We were gathering at Namaskar India in order to say farewell to our workmate Ray, who was moving back home to China. Seeing as there was around fifteen of us, I wasn’t able to do a round table “satisfaction survey” like I normally subject my friends to after a meal, so I’ll only be reviewing the dishes that I was able to taste.
Namaskar’s menu encompasses both South and north Indian cuisine, as well as both a Malaysian and Indo-Chinese selection. You are not short of an option here either: the menu lists over 200 dishes. The terminally indecisive diner would probably end up spontaneously combusting out of stress such is the massive variety. It is also extraordinarily cheap. The most expensive dish is $16.95, and the vast bulk of the menu is under $10.
I ended up choosing the palak paneer, a good classic dish suitable for a novice like myself. Also I was in the mood for spinach (iron, oh yeah!). The spinach puree, augmented by cream, was thick and flavoursome, with blobs of cottage cheese bobbing about like boats in a bayou. I ate it all with great fresh hot pieces of garlic naan, they were gorgeous, and I like any dish where it’s acceptable to eat it all with some kind of bread product. Nom.
I also got a taste of someone’s nizami tharkari, which was mixed vegetables in a spicy cashew gravy. It was the cashew element that really interested me, it was such a smooth sauce, yet it possessed body as well. I’d love to know how to replicate it at home.
I’ll end with a warning on heat: the Namaskar menu denotes 1 chilli as being medium hot, with 2 meaning very hot. Some of our party, who considered themselves chilli hard-arses, struggled with 1 chilli dishes, so the heat is by all accounts pretty intense. Not for Ray, though, who ordered a 2 chilli curry, decided it wasn’t hot enough, requested some fresh chopped chillis to mix through, and then happily ate the lot. He’s awesome that way. We’ll miss him.
20 Glenferrie Road, Malvern
Ph: 9500 9558