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, school prawns and dill. Or duck korma with spiced quince and rhubarb.
Need curry in a hurry? Om Vegetarian serves exactly that – all dishes are either vegetarian and vegan too! For just $7.50 chow down on ‘All you can eat thaali’, the vegetable curry and lentil curry of the day served with rice, peas and freshly baked naan bread. Add to that a vegetable samosa and a mango lassi or soft drink, all for only $11. If you’re after a bit more variety, Flora Indian Restaurant, metres from Flinders Street Station, has been keeping the city well fed with its southern and northern Indian food for over 20 years. $10 gets you a masala dosa and $15 gets you rice, a couple of meat curries, daal and pappadums.
A Queen Victoria Market favourite for more than 20 years, Drums Cafe does good Indian curries, including classic butter chicken. You can also test out some Sri Lankan cuisine, for something a little different. Try a spicy chicken curry with salad and rice or a hunger busting combo of tandoori chicken, vindaloo and vegetarian curry for $13.90.
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: two veg curries with rice, naan, pappadum and pickles, or the melt in your mouth $16 goat curry. You’ll have loose change leftover – but maybe not the tummy space – for a yummy Indian sweet or two.
The queues haven’t let up since Chin Chin Restaurant opened in 2011, but its modern Thai plus party vibe is worth the wait. 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!
New to Bourke Street is the cute and quirky Isan Soul, who are just about on par with Chin Chin for all-day crowds. Shelves are stacked high with Thai-style kitsch and decorative Tuk Tuks hang along the walls making for an entertaining wait. Once you’ve nabbed yourself a spot settle in and indulge in a rich red duck curry, or take your spices in powder form with curry dusted soft shell crab.
Another relative newbie to the scene is Rempah, a Malay and Indonesian inspired dining spot that’s popped up at HWKR. The beef rendang served with achar and keropok (pickled veg and deep fried crackers) will win the hearts of classic curry lovers. Their meat-defying mates can come along for lunch too, with a delicious vegan rendang making it’s mark on their excellent menu.
A Sydney favourite born out of three guys’ hankering for the Malaysian flavours of their youth, Mamak expanded to Melbourne in 2012. It has 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.
The Land of the Rising Sun’s curry is, like everything else there, distinctly its own thing, and simply delicious.
Specialising in simple dishes, Don Don Japanese Restaurant is a top option for quick, nicely priced meals. Make it a tofu, chicken or beef Japanese-style curry to warm you up in the cooler months.
A little slice of kooky Tokyo pop culture in the heart of Melbourne, Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe 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, choose between their flavoursome curry yasai donburi (vegetables) or curry wagyu donburi (wagyu beef).