Rama's is a Fijian Indian restaurant located in the southern Canberra suburb of Pearce. It is quietly tucked away in a local shopping square, however when you walk in the sound of happy chatter fills the air and there is a constant stream of people walking in and out, to dine in or takeaway. The red and yellow colour scheme inside the restaurant is cosy and inviting and the tantalising smell makes your stomach grumble in anticipation. On our visit, we were given a warm welcome by the owner and Maître D, Mini, before being shown to our table for two by the window. Without even trying the food, we felt completely at home in this welcoming, family restaurant and were looking forward to the spicy delights to come...
As we had visited Fiji a number of years ago and enjoyed the Fijian-Indian cuisine we had tried there, we were looking forward to trying the flavours again at Rama's for a celebratory dinner. The menu is extensive, with a good mixture of spicy and mild flavours in each dish - however, ensure you tell them whether you would like your meals to be mild, medium or hot. The restaurant is also BYO wine, with no corkage fee, so if you drink wine, ensure you take your favourite white to match spicy food, or you can quickly buy one at the nearby shops.
On arrival, a plate of pappadums is delivered to each table complimentary, with a creamy and delicious mint sauce as an accompaniment. For entrée we chose "Fish Pakoras - portions of boneless fish, marinated in garlic, turmeric and lemon juice, then dipped in Lentil flour and deep fried" ($14). This was the ideal way to start the meal, with a beautiful blend of flavours and sweet and delicious tamarind sauce on the side - which we couldn't get enough of!
As we looked around the restaurant between meals, we were glad that we had booked as it was surprisingly busy for a weekday night. Families, groups of friends, work groups and people dining alone made up the room, creating a happy buzz and comfortable ambience to relax and talk.
Soon the mains were delivered to our table and we enjoyed the "Lamb Bombay - cubes of meat cooked with fresh spices, coconut milk and fresh coconut" ($27) and "Aamm Chicken (Mango Chicken) - boneless chicken pieces cooked with fresh spices and a sweet mango sauce" ($25). Although both had smooth, yet spicy flavours, it was the Mango Chicken which had us both going back for more, with tender meat that melted in the mouth. The pappadums soon disappeared as we mopped up every last flavoursome drip of sauce on the plate.
Ensure you take your appetite to Rama's, because if you want to try an entrée and a variety of mains, plus the pappadums or roti, then you will be leaving extremely full, happy and content. There is also a Dessert Menu with homemade ice-cream and traditional options if you have the room to fit in anything else or have kids on your table. On our visit to Rama's, we had planned on visiting San Churro dessert restaurant afterwards, just a short drive away at Woden Westfield - however, we just couldn't fit another thing in!
The food at Rama's was exceptional, however, it was also the friendliness of the staff and the whole ambience of the restaurant that also made the night a special one. As we were waved off by the lovely owner, we left behind a restaurant of happy and jovial regulars, laughing and dining into the night...
...which we look forward to doing again next time! Image: Original photos from Rama's Facebook