Indian food is a diverse and rich cuisine that often doesn’t get the full respect it deserves. It is far more than butter chicken, lamb korma, vindaloo and naan bread. There is a vast array of styles and flavours in curries, salads, pilafs, breads and condiments depending on the region of the country you are looking at.
This perception isn’t helped by many an Indian vendor simply making a generic base sauce/gravy and then changing the colour and the meat included. This soupy nothingness was my first introduction to Indian, and it put me off, quite literally, for many years.
It is with this lingering fear, like an abused puppy flinching at raised voices, that I always approach a new Indian restaurant. It should be good. It can be great. It should never be bland. Will they do it justice?
5 Spice Indian Cuisine at Mount Barker contacted my friend @streetsofadelaide to come and try their wares, so this level of confidence gave hope. As it turns out, my fears were completely baseless.
To cut to the chase, this was some of the best curries I have had the pleasure of eating. Each of those we tried had its own unique base to it, with the flavours being lovingly layered in, offering a full depth of flavour and complexity that makes Indian the cuisine it is.
We sampled goat do-piaza, chicken chettinad, ava beef and channa dahl. I cannot do each justice in trying to describe them in good detail, but they were all sensational. For me, I really loved the dry whole spice explosion of flavour from the chettinad. The heat wasn’t more than medium, but the real character of each spice really shone through, which is the character of southern Indian curries. The goat was the pick of my companions, and the tender richness of the meat with the more lifted curry was brilliant. This is by no means saying the beef and the dahl were not excellent too. Naan – cheese and cheese and garlic – was also on the table, and this was it’s usual delicious self.
Before the main event we had tried some starters, being the almost obligatory onion bhaji as well as chicken manchuria. Then at the end we somehow found room for desert and tried mango kulfi and gulab jamun (dumplings in rosewater syrup).
All told, this was a very enjoyable meal indeed. The service we experienced and observed to others was excellent, the venue was warm and ‘homely’ (at least in the back room where we were), the menu extensive and the standard of food was very high. They also do take away, which will be high on my agenda to try some more, given I live locally.
No surprises in this summary – 5 Spice Indian Cuisine comes highly recommended.
5 Spice Indian Cuisine is open for lunch 11:30 – 2pm Wednesday to Sunday, dinner Tuesday to Sunday 5pm-9:30pm, and closed on Monday.