Monday, July 16, 2012

Mishra's Kitchen

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On quiet-as-the-proverbial Wembley Ave, the Bollywood tunes sing sweetly down the empty street, and you can't help but be drawn in to Mishra's Kitchen.

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This sandwich bar by day morphs into an Indian restaurant at night.  Inside, the decor is slightly functional but still belies a loving touch.

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Chef Sanjeev is the personality behind Mishra's Kitchen and he is full of smiles, whether busy at work in the open kitchen or checking that everyone's happy at your table.  A smartly-dressed young waiter gave us attentive, friendly service.

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Onion bhaji, $5

Onion bhaji to start.  I found these a bit dull - I prefer the more freeform style of bhaji/pakora that, say, Indi Hots do.

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Samosa, $5

These samosas were nice - love the authentic touch of ajwain seeds in the dough - but they were big and, for me, too substantial for an entree.  More like a light lunch really.

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Alu baigan masala, $10

Top marks for this eggplant and potato curry, the potato perfectly tender and imbued with spices, the eggplant silky with glistening black skin, all in a rich red sauce.

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Butter chicken, $12

Great butter chicken too, not too buttery and with rich tomato flavour.  I may or may not have hoovered up the leftovers for breakfast the next day.  One great thing about Mishra's is all the menu items have codes as to whether they are gluten- and/or lactose-free.

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Shabnam curry, $10

This mushroom and pea curry was well made with fresh vegies but was very rich, not from excessive oil or butter but from coconut cream.  It was a little too much for me but if you were hankering for a creamy curry, this would wrap you up like a fluffy blanket.

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Special of the day, $12?

This was the chef's special of the day, a chicken and vegie curry in a coconut sauce, which I think was the same sauce as the mushroom curry above - an unintentional double-up on our part.  Delicious but again, rich.  I am keen to try more of the tomato- and/or vinegar-based curries like the eggplant and potato above.

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Rice, $3

Tender basmati rice, each grain separate...

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Plain naan ($2) and garlic naan ($2.50)

...and winning, proper tandoori naan, big discs puffed right up like woodfired pizza, providing contrast between crackled top and chewy bottoms.  Spy the tandoori oven in the earlier kitchen pic, skewers dangling promisingly above it.  I think the naan prices are really fair - hate paying $3.50 or more for one soggy garlic naan at other places.  

We only really skimmed the surface of the menu and somehow managed to unintentionally miss the entire tandoori section.  I had four kids with me and felt like I was playing that carnival game where the gophers pop up out of holes and you have to bash them down with a squishy hammer - averting crises left, right and centre!  To this end, the butter chicken was a hit (pun fully intended).

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I'm keen to try the Goan fish (with ground coconut, tamarind and whole spices), the vindaloo with garlic and green chilli and even the kormas, with an almond-based, white sauce.  The serves seem bigger than other Indian restaurants and the prices are great - $10 for veg curries, $12 for meat and $14 for seafood.  Next Indian takeaway night, I'm here - parking is a snap to boot.

Thanks to Kenny for the company and the great tip - check out Kenny's visits here and here!  Also thanks to Melissa who wrote to me, saying: "Thanks for creating your blog and celebrating the west!  My partner and I went to Mishra's Kitchen at Wembley Ave, yarraville last night.  Best indian in years (since the Carlton Curry House uni days).  Great food, prices and a chef that is passionate about his food, sharing and the community feel."

Mishra's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Mishra's Kitchen
18 Wembley Avenue, Yarraville
Phone:  9314 3336
Open Mon-Sat 11am-3pm (lunch menu) and 5pm-10pm (Indian dinner menu)


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Mishra's menu 1 1

Mishra's menu 2 1

17 comments:

  1. Woo go Mishra's! I have been here a couple of times now as its just walking distance from my house. With a bit more local support they will continue to go from strength to strength. I love that they are always so grateful/appreciative to see their customers return.

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    1. They are super nice and so genuine, aren't they? Looking forward to trying more dishes!

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  2. Whats the "contemporary" bit I wonder

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  3. How does it compare to places on Barkly St in West Footscray? And what's your pick of places on Barkly St?

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    1. Stickman, I have been remiss in keeping up to date with the comings and goings in Little India. I gravitate to vivacious Vietnamese more than more indulgent Indian so often find myself having a pho nine times out of ten rather than a thali! Hope to remedy this soon. I do like Aangan but have been finding them rather unpredictable of late. The sauce, texture, oil level etc of a dish is so variable between nights - it's like they have different chefs all the time who don't concur on one recipe. I like Dosa Hut a lot - their coconut chutney is the bomb.

      Hoping to try Hyderabad Inn and Pandu's soon. A friend who is a fellow Indian Chinese nut gave Mumbai Hakka the thumbs down, so not keen to splash the cash there. Kenny and I were meant to go to Vanakkam this night but they were closed Mondays.

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  4. I work on Wembley Ave (the pizza shop in the next block) and Sanjeev often comes in.
    He's lovely and on opening night, everyone where I work was invited over to Mishra's for some food and drink.
    What I like about the shops on Wembley as a group (and working there) is that everyone is really friendly and supportive of one another.
    ... The food is pretty good, too. Haha!

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  5. Mishra's is a family fave for our kids after Kenny's initial heads-up. Funny how kids drive the destination. No fancy pizza in Kensigton or Seddon for Ma and Pa, its pho or curry every time.

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    1. Glad to see you're bringing up those kids right ...

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    2. They do don't they Andrew! It's why there isn't much Indian on these pages compared to Vietnamese, as I find it so much easier to get the children to eat Vietnamese than Indian. I have a fancy pizza place coming up that the kids will LOVE though.

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  6. Sanjeev is a great guy, got to know him when he worked at Sangam Tandoori in Williamstown many years ago. Funny & gregarious & enjoys a cool drink on a hot night! Does a lot of charity work back in India also, or at least he was back then. Oh, and a good chef too!

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    1. I am loving the Sanjeev love! He seems like such a lovely bloke!

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  7. Thanks Lauren for solving my Friday night takeout dilemma. I'm quite sheltered when it comes to Indian, I've been going to Taj Palace on Nicholson st, Footscray for the past 2 years and only recently discovered Tandoori Flames in South Kingsville so I'd love to see more Indian on your blog!

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    1. Will endeavour to provide, Monica! I'll turn you into an Indian-Chinese convert yet. ;-)

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  8. sanjeev mishra (chef owner Mishra's Kitchen)July 23, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Thanks to all of you for your comments, and especially to the Footscray Food Blogger! Mishra’s Kitchen has only been open for about 8 months so we’re really keen to hear your feedback… especially when it helps us to improve. I’d like to answer the question about what is contemporary in the MK cuisine. Firstly, while I know that many people like the time-tested and taste-tested traditional recipes, such as Rogan Josh and Beef Vindaloo, I like to also experiment a bit! So, for example, I have offered customers special dishes some weeks, which have included Tandoori Octopus as an entrée, and Tandoori Steak and Tandoori Duck as mains. You can see a photo of the Tandoori Steak thali at www.facebook.com/MishrasKitchen. We’re in the process of updating our Facebook page, and invite you to check it from time to time; that’s where we advertise our Special Dish of the Week (or Month). Secondly, you’re right in saying that the Chocolate Naan is a contemporary dish. We’re about to bring out a new menu, to which we have added Chilli Chocolate Naan as an optional extra to the Chocolate Naan. Thirdly, I offer something quite different from other Indian restaurants – and I suppose you could call this ‘contemporary’ – in that I customise existing dishes to suit diners’ palates or dietary restrictions. Examples? Recently I made a dairy-free Butter Chicken for a lactose-intolerant customer; he and his friends loved it, and so I’m adding it as an option to my new menu. With advance notice I can do similar things with other dishes – for instance, I can make a dairy-free marinade for Tandoori meats and fish if I have 24 hours’ notice. So please tell me or the waiting staff if you would like, or if you need, a variation to one of the dishes on the MK menu, and I will do my best to oblige. I also adjust the taste of my curries depending on your palate, and that’s why some of the milder curries have a thicker, creamier sauce than the same curry with more spice in it; the reason is to keep the flavour and substance to the dish – it’s a bit difficult to explain this in words! Another thing we do that is a little different is that we have MK Gift Vouchers. This happened because one customer who liked our food wanted to give her mother an MK Gift Voucher to a certain dollar value as a birthday present. We have now made some attractive Gift Vouchers for customers to purchase, for whatever value you choose. You can pick one up at the restaurant anytime. Thank you again for trying my food and telling me honestly what you think of it; that’s the most helpful feedback I can hope for!

    Sanjeev Mishra, Chef, Mishra’s Kitchen (www.facebook.com/MishrasKitchen)

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    1. Thank you so much Sanjeev for your genial and informative response! CHILLI CHOCOLATE NAAN - Phwoooar! Gotta try that! Thanks for all the extra info and look forward to coming in and trying more soon.

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