Thursday, June 24, 2010

Indi Hots 2

Bain marie good, bain marie bad?  Bad is what I saw at a major Melbourne hospital recently - in the cafeteria, a bored server slit a plastic pouch from ear to ear and dumped its sloppy contents into the waiting silver pan.  Let food be thy medicine?  Thanks, but I'd rather pack a sandwich.

Indi Hots has a bain marie, but don't stop reading now.  This little diner perches on the far eastern end of Footscray's CBD, watched over by Franco Cozzo... The lovable, somewhat zany patriarch of old Footscray watches as the baton is passed on to a new generation.

The menu is a tiny whiteboard by the kitchen door, on which careful lettering slants endearingly upward.  Service here is delightful.

Mirch bhaji, $3.00

India's answer to the dagwood dog.  Long green chillies enveloped in crunchy chickpea flour batter, served with a creamy mint chutney.  Delicious!

Chilli chicken, $5.95

Many young Indians, when going out to eat, don't choose the rogan josh and butter chicken that non-Indians associate so strongly with Indian food.  You will see many Indian restaurants proclaiming their "Indian Chinese" specialties, as this is often what the younger crowd want.  Chilli chicken is a great example - nuggets of chicken, deep-fried, and tossed with a flavour-packed capsicum, onion and tomato relish.  Yum!

Thali (non-veg), $9.95

Were we in the tropics and not rainy Footscray, we might have a banana leaf thali spread before us, heaped with little mounds of curries.  This silver thali platter might lack romanticism, but it has gravity firmly on side - its deep pockets mean that none of the delicious curries escape.  Chewy, tasty roti bread, made with wholemeal flour, is perfect for scooping up tender morsels of goat in a supremely delicious, tomato-based gravy.  Chicken curry is more-ishly creamy and smooth but packs a chilli sting in the tail, and a simple, dry-fried lentil and vegetable dish is heightened with mustard seeds and coconut.

Indi Hots = bain marie good.  Now if we could just get them the contract for that horrible hospital canteen, I might actually look forward to having a blood test.

Indi Hots
5/68-82 Hopkins St, Footscray (map)
Phone: 9687 4626
Hours: Noon til late, Tuesday - Sunday


  1. The mirch bhaji sounds terrific! Are the green chillies very hot? The thali looks pretty good too.

    Also, how remiss of me to not be subbed to your blog. Fixed! :)

  2. Hi banh mi buddy! I don't think they are very hot, but then again, I am a freak. Probably as hot as a jalapeno, KWIM? Thanks for subscribing! x

  3. Oh. Wow. Those chilli chicken nuggets look as good as our new Prime Minister's hair. And the same colour, too! ;)

  4. I think I feel like chicken tonight!!!

  5. Great to hear this is a good bain-marie. I had heard positive things about this place and was keen to try, but I always seem to be drawn to other options at the last minute. Maybe it is my fear of Indian bain-marie.

    Anyway, we tried it for lunch today...very nice too. Good naan, spicy goat curry and one of the better samosa's I have eaten. Will be back to try their dum biryani

    Good call Ms Baklover!

  6. Hi cloudy - trust me, they are so yummy. Super spicy too. Perfect to celebrate this great day in Australian political history!

    Hi Temasek - do it! I had "Chicken 65" the other day which is an "Indian Chinese" dish too - so yummy.

    Hi Andrew - I am so glad! Isn't it a great little place. I don't know why they have such a terrible rating on Urbanspoon, unless competitors are sabotaging them. I never eat at Kitchen Samrat any more, it's Indi Hots all the way. We had good goat biryani at Dosa Hut recently too.

  7. Everything look so good, I will defiantly pay a visit if I'm ever in your town, That chili chicken got me drooling right now

  8. Yes, we like this place, too. Bain marie goes with the territory for my budget and tastes, so I'm well used to it. I find timing can be important - hit these places just on noon, as the food is first put out, and so on. Anyone know where the term "bain marie" comes from?

  9. I looooove Indi Hots. Have been quite a few times, including with kids, and they are just delightful. I do think Indian food (and any other wet, braise-y food) lends itself well to bain marie service, as opposed to something like noodles or a stir-fry.


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