Chandni Chowk, Coburg

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MELBOURNE | Chandni Chowk is an Indian restaurant in Coburg that specialises in the food that’s enjoyed in the bustling Delhi neighbourhood from which the restaurant gets its name. I was recently invited in (a few weeks before COVID-19 changed the hospitality landscape) to check it out.

The restaurant was started by Jyotsna and Naveen Raichand, who have over 20 years experience in hospitality. For them, Chandni Chowk is an opportunity to showcase the food that they grew up with and enjoy. The restaurant is small and bright, with timber furniture, patterned wallpaper and an assortment of posters and decorations hanging on the walls.

The menu features quite an assortment of dishes, with plenty for both meat eaters and vegans. I was curious to try the dishes that best represented the restaurant, so left the ordering in Jyostna’s hands while munching on some papadums with mint raita.

I’m a big fan of lassi, so to drink the choice was easy – smooth and creamy plain and mango lassi with pistachios. To eat, it was a mixture of items from the tandoor and the curry list. First up, sizzling lamb chops straight from the clay tandoor. Marinated in a herb mix for 12 hours before cooking, they’re juicy, tender and full of wonderful flavour. Also tasty from the tandoor are the lamb seekh kebabs, nicely spiced like the chops.

For mains, it was three curries served with garlic naan and basmati rice. Delhi vala korma is a mutton korma, made with yogurt marinated meat and 15 different spices. It’s an old dish, a classic example of Mughlia cuisine. That is, the Indo-Persian cuisine that developed during the time of the Mughal Empire (1526-1857). The version here is quite light, with the obvious richness coming through from the mutton. Another mutton curry I enjoyed was Daal Gosht – mutton simmered with spices and a mixture of toor (yellow) and masoor (red)  dal (lentils).

The last curry I enjoyed was the vegetarian palak paneer. I’m a big fan of paneer curries and I knew this was as soon as it hit the table. It’s cubes of paneer mixed through a thick paste made from puréed spinach and seasoned with ginger, garlic, garam masala, and other spices. Very aromatic and light.

For dessert, gulab jamun. Gulab jamun is an Indian sweet that I first became acquainted with when I was living in London. It’s sweetened cottage cheese dumplings that have been soaked in sugar syrup and rose water. The version at Chandni Chowk has a nice density to it, and is served in rabri rabri, a sweet, condensed-milk-based dish served cold with jaggery, spices, and nuts. It works well with the gulab jamun.

The food here is rich and aromatic dishes, but with an unexpected lightness, especially when it comes to the curries. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, the kind of place where people from various tables happily talk to each other and ask what other diners are enjoying. A nice neighbourhood restaurant.

Chandni Chowk

360 Sydney Road
Coburg
Victoria 3058
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9386 0892
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Tue – Sun: 11:30am to 2:30pm; 5:30pm to 10:30pm

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