Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Living around Mont Albert means the opportunity to wander down glorious tree lined streets with stunning period homes while still maintaining good access to public transport, which hurtles you into the metropolitan heartland in 20 minutes or so.
But despite such benefits there are a couple of frustrations. One is that local coffee shops close their kitchens by 3:30 pm and their doors by 4pm. You can scarcely buy a sandwich later in the day, never mind a meal.
So it was with relish, or should I say a bit of mango chutney, that I discovered that one of the local coffee spots was reopening at night and offering Sri Lankan cuisine.
Not every night mind you. That would be too much for the hearts and pacemakers of the local clientèle who tend to be well-heeled and a little more mature than those in trendy Fitzroy. But the plan is still for a Saturday curry night at least once every six weeks or so.
The establishment in question is Country Fare Cafe in Hamilton Street. By day owners Candy and Prins serve coffee, cakes and focaccias, but on curry nights they allow their passion for their native cuisine to surface. The idea is to serve authentic home-style Sri Lankan food. Some of the recipes have been handed down through traditional family lines.
The curry nights cost $30 a head and include a wide selection of curries. Selections may vary but on the night we attended we had chicken, beef, lamb, fish, and lentil curry dishes. As we had a vegetarian with us, Candy kindly cooked two extra dishes just for him. There was also fried beans and egg plant salad, coconut roti, gotham roti, and rice of course.
Accompaniments included mango chutney and pol sambol, which is coconut chutney.
The desserts were particulary delicious. One was a type of watalappam, which is like a thick set custard with a glazed top made from coconut milk, eggs, cardamon and so on. The other had grated coconut, cardamon and palm sugar.
As it is a buffet you can return for seconds, thirds and so on. The food was served in traditional dishes in a wonderful display.
There is no liquor license so you cannot drink with your meal but soft drinks and tea and coffee are available.
Candy is also keen to show people how to cook Sri Lankan cuisine. You can see her in one of the photos above cooking chicken curry. However this was for tomorrow's dinner; as she explained, "for a good curry the flavours need to meld for 24 hours. They always taste better the day after."
This is cosy space which only holds 20 or so, therefore it would be a good venue for extended families or friendship groups.
The tiny cafe is transformed into a curry house with white tablecloths and some subtle jazz music playing in the background.
A portion of the profits for the night went to charity op shops in street which was a nice gesture. Great to see something a little novel and mildly exciting happening in the burbs.