MELBOURNE | One restaurant that I’ve walked past a lot over the years but never ventured into is Gaylord. The Indian restaurant has been around since 1985, and recently moved out of their Tattersalls Lane home into the 1890s heritage listed Grand Hotel on Spencer Street.
The original owner, Mohammed Musharraf, decided to move the restaurant back in 2019, for various reasons. He wasn’t planning on selling, but had a change of mind and got in contact with his old venue manager, Raj Singh, to see if he was interested. Raj teamed up with his mate Dharminder Singh (who was working as the manager at Babu Ji at the time), and together they purchased Gaylord. One month later, the lockdowns started.
The boys persevered, however, selling take away lockdown meals, and now they’re in full swing (well as much as the shifting sands of restrictions allow) for dine in as well as continuing with take away.
The food here has a Northern Indian bent, but it’s not locked into any particular region. Raj and Dharminder’s aim is to highlight regional dishes from across the country. If the duo and chef Suraj want to put something on the menu but don’t have a recipe, they make sure they find someone from the region to teach them. Often it’s a relative or friend of one of the staff who share their family recipe.
I sampled a few things, and was really happy with my meal. A particular highlight ia the gosht (goat) nihari, a slow cooked stew which originated in the royal Mughal kitchens. The word nihari comes from the Arabic nahaar, meaning “morning”. The dish was originally eaten as a breakfast item after morning prayers. The lamb chops are great too, the gold leaf resting stop them symbolising the Mughal royalty who enjoyed them back in the day. And yes, the butter chicken is ace too.
You can choose the spice level that suits you for several of the dishes. For me it’s always “how the chef likes it”. If you are a spice fiend, however, ask for a side of the house made green chilli sauce which isn’t listed on the menu. It’s the real deal, and you can ramp up the heat of each bite to your heart’s delight.
33 Spencer Street
Mon – Sun: 5:00pm to 10:30pm