I am an Australian freelance writer living in Adelaide.
Published October 28th 2011
For delicious Indian in the suburbs, look no further than Charminar. Named after a beautiful monument in India, this restaurant serves all the usual curries and then some. My previous tastes of India had shamefully come from a box that goes in the microwave so when I tasted the fresh stuff, my taste buds went into overdrive.
The Charminar monument in Hyderabad, India
Having dined in a few times, we decided to be lazy and get take away. Between three of us, we decided to be greedy (and adventurous) by ordering four curries ($13.90 each), two containers of basmati rice with saffron ($1.50 each) and six garlic naans ($2.50 each). This intentionally meant enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
We passed on the Chef Specials of goat or duck curry and went straight to the traditional mains of Butter Chicken and Beef Vindaloo. You couldn't get two more opposite dishes if you tried in terms of the chilli heat. The bright orange butter chicken was surprisingly very sweet while the vindaloo was too spicy for my palate, but the chicken and beef pieces were soft and delicious. The third curry is my absolute favourite, I order it every time - the Tawa Tikka Masala. It has a tomato-based flavour with chicken, tomato slices and spring onions floating in a sauce of green chilli, garlic and ginger.
The fourth curry was a different one called Goan Fish. The white fish melted in our mouths and spring onions and red capsicum swam in a creamy sauce of coconut milk and "goan" spices. These included turmeric and cumin (which gave it its mustard-yellow tinge), coriander, chilli and garlic. I felt the taste of fish competed with the spices, whereas chicken complements the sauce much better.
Last time, we ordered Saag Gosht - lamb in spinach puree with ginger and garlic and one mouthful was all I could stand. The spinach retained a bitter taste (or perhaps that was from the ginger?) and its texture reminded me too much of what it made me feel like doing! However, my boyfriend considers it an unsung hero of the curries.
The garlic naans were generously sized, covering a dinner plate yet the taste of garlic could have been stronger. They are a must-have with Indian food to mop up the sauce and to eat as the Indians do - with their hands.
Inside the restaurant, dim lights make for a relaxing, calming environment and the decorative, metal bowls that food is served in is a nice touch.
It's quite ironic that the restaurant in Reynella is located near the intersection fondly known by the locals as "Junk Food Junction"- you'll find nearly every fast food chain competing here. There's Fasta Pasta, KFC, McDonalds and Hungry Jacks yet, apart from the visible oil and coconut cream/milk used in the curries, it would be an insult to consider Charminar's fast food. If you find yourself at this junction, you'll know which venue to choose.