Any restaurant that has to cordon off parking spaces to fit their waiting crowd is doing something right. We joined the throng on a progressive dinner through Harris Park’s 'Little India' without even realising (until we sat down) that we were in for a fully vegetarian meal. The extensive menu presents a wide range of Indian street food and snacks from across the subcontinent. If you’re not Indian, and even if you’re a regular Indian diner, you’re likely to see dishes you haven’t encountered before.
So it’s hard to know what to select, and harried staff are too busy to do much more than collect order dockets after you fill them out, so our party of four chose quite randomly from menu photographs. The hectic pace of the place means orders can (and did) go amiss. With street style dishes, food should arrive quite quickly, so if it’s been a while since your docket was collected, do consider making inquiries. Once we started rolling, our dishes arrived in rapid succession.
True to its picture, the visually impressive Jini Dosa ($13.90/4) presents four upstanding crisp, rice flour crepes wrapped around coconut, paneer (cheese) and gently spiced vegetables. They arrive on a metal thali plate with the other compartments filled out with lentil soup, onion slices and chunky spiced coconut chutney (a South Indian specialty). They’re lively and delicious (if somewhat messy) mouthfuls, though after a staff prompt, we’re offered share plates that catch the drips.
They prove quite useful as we move straight on to a more familiar plate of Dahi Puri ($7.40/6). They’re fried, hollow breads that are stuffed with potato and chickpeas then smothered with an avalanche of chilled yoghurt and various chutneys, from tangy tamarind to coriander-mint.
With no alcohol on offer, or able to be brought with you and consumed on premises, your drink options are limited to coffee-drinks, lassi variations, mocktails like a lime green, minty Mojito ($6.90) or soft drinks like Lemon Lime and Bitters ($3.90). You’re probably going to need them for Chilli Pakora Chaat ($7.90/4). This flavoursome, foursome of green chillies are battered with besan (chickpea) flour, and release a fiery burn.
With lips afire we move somewhat cautiously onto another photo pick - Sabudana Vada ($8.90/4). They’re a traditional Indian snack from the state of Maharashtra (capital Mumbai) made of deep-fried ground pulses. They’re served with curd and vibrantly green coriander-mint chutney, making for a texturally interesting and thankfully mouth-cooling bite.
With everything we ate proving both inexpensive and delicious, I’m determined to return to explore the menu items without photographs. My attention is already fixated on Western fusion items like the Masala Cheese Toastie ($8.90) and Bombay Chinese – Chinese foods that are popular in Mumbai. I will report back...
Shop 4-6/14-20 Station Street East, Harris Park
Ph: (02) 8677 0033