Masala Foodie Trail

When a friend and fellow traveller and food enthusiast mentioned catching up at a foodie trail tour I could not refuse.

The Masala Foodie Trail consisted of a visit to restaurants and  one tiny grocery store all with the CBD of Melbourne.

We met our guide and other participants (making a total of five plus our guide) at the appointed time and headed off to the first venue.  Our guide spoke very good english and was a friendly, delightful and knowledgeable of Indian food.  She was in Australia to do her Masters degree in….what else but tourism.

A short walk and we were at our first restaurant.  Whilst we waited for chai and a small brunch she provided us with a map of India and gave us a brief history of the different areas of India and the differing food in various states.  It was interesting we all noted that we had all passed this particular restaurant in the past though had never been inside.  It is located near a very busy railway station.  It will definitely be on our to do visit when we are looking for delicious food as it looked very appetising and freshly prepared.

Next up was a visit to a shop which sold a huge range of products and spices for Indian cooking.  It was very tiny so we all just fitted in but there was an abundance of herbs and spices.  I puchased a packet of cummin seeds and another of black mustard seeds as my supply at home was low.

Lunch was next up and again another restaurant that had been overlooked by a couple who work a few hundred meters away.  We started with cummin pappadoms accompanied with a mildly spicy yogurt dipping sauce.  I think that it would have been lovely to be served with a cold lassi drink at this stage though two of the group ordered beer which as it had been very hot would have hit the spot.  But water was fine too.

The goat currie was particularly delicious and along side there was dahl, a cucumber raita, paneer and spinach, basmati rice and roti.  This was served communally.  Quite small servings for six people but very authentic.  We had expected a third restaurant for dessert but it was served here and was two of my favourite Indian sweets which sadly we had to share.  They were of course kulfi and gulab jamun!  As someone who has a sweet tooth I was a disappointed as my friend with the quantity though not the quality.

Having a drink afterwards we discussed the pricing and the way the offer of a free ticket if you invited a friend along.  I did not have anyone who could make it (and I live 1.5 hours out of the city) but my friend did.  I ended up paying the full amount of $125 which I did think was expensive.  My friend (and her friend) paid $62.50 which I would consider an appropriate amount for the tour.

I do however have two new Indian restauants when next in the city to experience again and know of a well appointed grocery store selling spices.  Maybe after next weekend and after an eight course vegetarian meal with quality wine for $10 more than this I will know what is value for money.  In the meantime I will dream of kulfi in this heatwave we are experiencing in country Victoria.

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