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Published August 25th 2015
Delectable food from Delhi's streets in Melbourne's laneway
Delhi Streets brings authentic Delhi chaats (phonetically 'charts' with 'r' silent) aka light street food all the way to the laneways of Melbourne. We were pleased to note that it catered well to our seasoned Indian palate.
Now for those of you new to the world of chaats, no I'm not talking about those on Whatsapp!; most people like to & can eat at least a few plates as a full meal. Well, firstly they're super healthy and delicious; secondly, they're vegetarian and light; and lastly, they're usually a dime a dozen.
If you're familiar with the most mundane Indian Aussie menu (the likes of Butter Chicken & Lamb Rogan Josh) that your eyes have gotten tired of, the unique items on this menu will be a respite. The peeps at Delhi Streets have done a fantastic feat in delivering finger-licking chaats. That said, they do serve non-chaat items, like the thali - platter of roti, rice, curries, salad & sweet, again something not so common in most local Indian restaurants. The menu also gives lengthy descriptions to help Melburnians relate the foods to more familiar dishes from world cuisine.
So on this occasion, we shared decadent serves of chats - Pani Puri & Samosa Chaat; and an Aloo Parantha (the 'n' is silent). For us the samosa chaat was the winner. The flavours absolutely hit home. More than the samosa itself, it was the accompanying chana (white chickpea) masala that was sensational. It had good depth of flavour and was topped with a dollop of yogurt and sweet & sour tamarind chutney. The spice was just right too!
While the Pani Puri was also very tasty, we would have liked more on the plate. The Aloo Parantha was topped with a wedge of butter and served with raita - yogurt & cucumber salad & Indian mixed vegetable pickles on the side.
Although Delhi Streets can't match the price of chaats which Delhi hawkers make them for, in the local context, they're absolutely worth every dollar. The samosa chaat set us back just $8, which by itself can easily satiate your hunger.
The restaurant does well in setting up a cozy ambience with an upbeat décor. The walls are beautified with Indian film posters and evergreen dialogues of two of the most famous villain characters – Gabbar & Mogambo!
The sitting stools near the tables overlooking the cooking area, had logos of popular Indian brands such as Godrej, Indian Oil, Tata etc. Even your table number placard sits in a Limca bottle, a lemon soda drink that was quite a rage in India in the 90s.
All in all, the restaurant is themed well to the likings of both locals and Indians alike. The food tastes authentic and the décor is modern while still using several different design elements to make that strong connection to India. But the highlight here is still the food and our taste buds can't wait to head back.