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Published August 11th 2015
The Fine Art of Indian Cuisine
If you are looking for the biggest Indian meals around, you can't go far wrong at the Mela Indian restaurant at Black Rock. Just minutes away from the beach, this is an ideal location for dinner and a stroll.
You need to be hungry
This is not the restaurant for the indecisive. There were sixteen different starters, nine different naan breads, fifty-six for mains and a total of ninety choices on the take away menu. I'm glad I was with someone who was able to be decisive.
After the complementary pappadams, we ordered the Mela vegetarian platter for two. At eighteen dollars, I don't know how they'd make any money on this.
Vegetarian platter for two
This platter was a very generous starter dish. It included samosa, potato vado, mushroom pakora, onion bhaji, deep fried tofu and cauliflower. I really enjoyed the tofu. When this platter came out, I realized we had over ordered. I would have been happy to just nibble on this finger food all night. However, with all that batter I may have regretted it.
We couldn't choose from the chutneys and raita so we got them all. This seemed to surprise the waitress. The dips included a cucumber and yoghurt dip, a mint dip, mango chutney and tamarind chutney. I was certainly a fence sitter this night, as I liked them all. I had to dip my delicious garlic naan (laughable for $3.50) into all dips several times to test them.
Which dip would you choose?
We also ordered the eggplant masala, which included potato, a rich tomato sauce, eggplant (of course) and spices. It was pretty spicy but not too hot (I tend to be a bit lame when it comes to hot spicy food). They also have a pumpkin masala, which was my second choice. They are both only $13.
I would normally choose plain rice, but today I was easily persuaded to try the peas pulao ($6), which is basmati rice with green peas. I am not a huge fan of Basmati, I'd prefer thicker rice but it went well with the eggplant masala. The rice dish was the biggest I have ever been served at an Indian restaurant.
Our whole meal cost less than fifty dollars. At the end of the meal it looked like we had hardly touched the mains. If I'd had room, I would have chosen the homemade ice-cream with pistachio and dried fruit. Then again, the Gulab Jamun (milk dumplings in a light rose flavoured syrup) looked great. All desserts are only five dollars.
Mela cater for special events. They have BYO wine only and take away. Overall, if you are looking for a meal on a budget, this is worth a look. One word of advice, do not over order. The servings are not the average Indian meal size.