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