Melbourne’s curry hot spots

From India to Japan, Thailand to Sri Lanka, enjoy a world of hot and spicy flavours at our favourite curry joints.

Indian and Sri Lankan

Want to take your curry adventure into classy territory? Make a pilgrimage to Tonka Bar & Restaurant. Like sister venue Coda, the executive chef is Italian-Indian Adam D’Sylva, whose many claims to fame include first chef at Longrain. Try his Goan curry with Cone Bay barramundi, padron peppers, school prawns and dill. Or duck korma with teppal spiced packham pear and blood plums.

A metal tray with curry, rice, daal, pickled vegetables and roti

Tonka

A Queen Victoria Market favourite for more than 20 years, Drums Cafe does good Indian curries, including classic butter chicken. However its forte is Sri Lankan cuisine, which is still a bit exotic in Melbourne. Try a sambal curry pouch, stuffed with either fresh okra, chilli prawn, or chicken, and be transported to Colombo.

Keep it simple at Delhi Streets, which brings authentic Indian market food to the heart of Melbourne. You can’t go past the classic thali plates: one to three curries with rice, naan, pappadum and pickles, from the $12 veg option to the fancy $16 goat curry. You’ll have loose change leftover – but maybe not the tummy space – for a yummy Indian sweet or two.

Two bowls of curry in tin bowls

Delhi Streets

 

South-east Asian

The queues haven’t let up since Chin Chin Restaurant opened in 2011, but its modern Thai plus party vibe is worth the wait. Or arrive early and walk right in for hot curry with cool drinks, tunes and art. Choices include wagyu beef rendang curry, jungle curry with barramundi, and braised duck red curry. Bet your mouth is watering already!

A Sydney favourite born out of three guys’ hankering for the Malaysian flavours of their youth, Mamak expanded to Melbourne in 2012. It’s been an instant hit, not least because the curries are awesome. We love the kari ikan, a tangy fish curry with tomatoes, okra and eggplant, but there’s also veg, chicken and lamb options.

For a curry laksa, try Emporium’s Chinta Ria Soul if you’re gunning for the Malaysian classic. Settle in with a bowl of this spicy coconut curry soup loaded with two kinds of noodles, beans, tofu puffs and bean shoots. Plus your choice of seafood, chicken or vegetables to really get you dreaming of Kuala Lumpur.

A table with lots of Malaysian dishes on it including curries and satay.

Mamak

Japanese

The Land of the Rising Sun’s curry is, like everything else there, distinctly its own thing, and simply delicious. Get yourself a tofu, chicken or beef curry at Don Don Japanese Restaurant for loose change, and leave with tight pants. Then do it all again the next day, forever on the lookout for the two dudes called Don.

A little slice of kooky Tokyo pop culture in the heart of Melbourne, Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe also does good, affordable food. Soak up the Nipponese tunes, posters and knick-knacks, then choose your curry. Perhaps a classic with rice, including the kare gyu with thinly sliced beef. Or try their curries with buckwheat soba noodles, including the yasai with grilled vegies and tofu.

From breakfast until salaryman-going-home-time, Ichi Ichi Ku Izakaya puts Japanese curries on the Royal Botanic Gardens’ doorstep. Served with brown rice, they range from veg to wagyu beef, and the Cheesy Ebi Korroke Curry special. If you like the idea of crunchy prawn croquettes and melted cheese with your curry, you’ll love this.