Here’s all you need to know – the address is 380 Elizabeth Street, near La Trobe. Pay no attention to what name the sparsely decorated dining space is currently going under, if it is still serving up South and North Indian, Malaysian and Singaporean food, then it is worth a visit. The Age’s Cheap Eats 2010 lists it as Bismi’s Gold An Fork and when you step inside, there are traces of Bismi’s rule, the odd sign covered with masking tape which, when peeled back, reveals a host of other names adopted and rejected over the years.
And the reason for this identity crisis? I’m guessing purely aesthetic (or some kind of power play between Reddy and Bismi, and someone called Ibrahim who keeps cropping up to), because the food is the kind of stuff any bargain-hunting spice-lover, who isn’t prepared to skimp on taste and authenticity, would be proud to put their name to.
The haphazard seating, casual mode of service and wall-mounted plasma TV playing sexed-up Bollywood dance scenes screams average no-thrills canteen, as does the numbered menu complete with pictures in the window and above the counter, but fear not – the cooking simply shines through. Despite appearances, this is not fast-food. I like the fact it takes a little while to get your metal tray of compartmentalised pickles, sambal, curry and raita – this stuff is freshly prepared with care. The fluffy, multi-layered roti are great for dipping, dosa with a myriad fillings are a real highlight – crisp and light with no sign of grease, there are several curry dishes on offer and lunchtimes see thali and a bargain buffet. And the even better news? Expect to get change for $10. Hoorah! As a self-confessed curry-phile – my UK stamping grounds included London’s East End and Southall – I can be a tough korma to crack, but this place won me over – a well-spiced real deal.
Reddy’s Kitchen / Bismi’s Gold An Fork / something entirely different…
388 Elizabeth Street
Tel. (03) 9650 1834
Apparently there is also an outlet at 848 Sydney Road, Brunswick, but am yet to check it out.