This week we had a team dinner after work at Chutney Mary’s Indian Restaurant. I had a great time. The food was fantastic, and my boss and workmates are all lovely and just really good fun. We went for the non-vegetarian banquet for AU$34.00 a head. There is a $38.00 non-vegetarian banquet option which includes dessert and coffee; there are also vegetarian banquets for $30.oo (no dessert/coffee) and $34.00 (with dessert/coffee).
First, the dishes of pickle, chutney and raitha arrived. I really should’ve repositioned the spoon in the brinjal and lime pickle, shouldn’t I? Anyway, next to the spoon-obscured brinjal and lime pickle are mango pickle and a rather bright green minty raitha. The brinjal and lime pickle smelled really strongly of limes and was rather hot – I chomped on a chunk of brinjal (in hindsight I probably should’ve exercised more caution with newly encountered dish which clearly contained chilli seeds) and just about burned my tastebuds off. Luckily I was able to soothe the burning with the bright green raitha which was minty, sweet and cool. The mango chutney was thankfully much milder, and also delicious, sticky, sweet and jammy.
Baskets of pappadum arrived at the same time. I tried for an artist’s palate-type effect on my plate here. Once photos were taken it was rip (pappadum), wipe (pappadum on blobs on plate) and eat, eat, eat.
The pappadum eased us into what would be a session of serious eating. The rest of the entrees arrived in quick succession. My hungry dinner companions were admirably patient while I took photos as quickly as I could throughout the entire meal. First, the seekh kebab. I really liked these – I know smoking is bad and I don’t smoke, but when I laid eyes on these kind of wanted to pretend-smoke one like a chewy meaty cigar. They were strongly spiced and simply delicious – and even better dipped in the minty sauce.
Next, plump pieces of chicken tikka. Their tantalisingly bright red colour and blackened char-flavoured edges (which I knew would taste sooo good) reminded me strangely of a photo of a poison arrow frog which I saw as a kid and have never forgotten (well, I did say “strangely”!). As regular readers will know, I’m a big chicken fan and love chicken tikka. I’m pleased to report this chicken tikka was tender and delicious. I only wish there had been more than one piece of chicken each!
I was really looking forward to trying these – onion bhaji, which I’ve never had before. I’ve seen Jamie Oliver make a different version, which is flat like a pancake.
I thought you might be interested to see the inside of an onion bhaji – the outside was crispy but when I pushed down with my fork it broke apart very easily, revealing a surprisingly soft interior. Obviously the chicken tikka was a success due to its chickenyness and the the seekh kebab was fantastic for its meatiness and pretend cigar potential, I think the onion bhaji was my favourite of the entrees. I think deep fried crispy balls of almost anything are tasty just by being deep fried and crispy (want to tell me what your favourite deep fried and crispy balls are? :)). I think Jac would love onion bhaji too.
See, Jac – I did eat some vegetables! Actually, I did eat more salad garnish than that. Lettuce goes very well with meaty pretend-cigars.
Once the entrees were cleared, the arrival of this dish signalled that main courses were just about to make their appearance.
First, the dahl:
Then brinjal bhaji. A short discussion on brinjal’s alternative names (eggplant, aubergine) followed. It was only a short discussion, as attention was diverted to the passing of dishes and heaping of curries on plates. By the way, we had rice too – but I didn’t think anyone would be that interested to see photo of the rice. I loved the brinjal bhaji. So my favourites for the night were the chicken dishes, pretend-cigar meat rollups and the brinjal curry.
There was bread, of course…
I’m not sure what this curry is called as it didn’t appear on the list of main courses – it had meat and spinach and chunks of tomato in it. Curry really isn’t very photogenic, is it?
Lamb rogan josh:
Most people’s favourite: butter chicken. Everything was tasty and it was great there was a lot of gravy to go around, but I reckon more meat would’ve been welcome – I would’ve liked more chicken in the butter chicken and more lamb in the rogan josh. I definitely could’ve eaten more chicken. More chicken, MORE CHICKEN! Hahaha.
My plate, round one. Starting from the rice and then moving clockwise: rice (duh), butter chicken, dahl, bread, side-dish-I-don’t-know-the-name-of, rogan josh, brinjal bhaji, mystery spinach curry.
We finished our meal feeling very full but somehow left quite a lot of food on the table. Never fear, one of my workmates asked for the leftovers to be put into takeaway containers! And I scored the brinjal bhaji to take home, woo-hoo! There was only one piece of chicken left in the butter chicken (an instance of the “everyone is too polite to be the person to take the last piece” syndrome) – but the person who took the butter chicken home ate the mostly gravy leftovers with rice (rice swimming in butter chicken sauce – YUM) for lunch the next day – and absolutely loved it. It smelled so good too while being zapped in the microwave in the lunch room at work.
We did have to get the attention of waiters a couple of times to get drinks, but overall service at Chutney Mary’s was OK (not remarkable, not dismal). It was busy and noisy and all the delicious smells kept my stomach growling. I really enjoyed the food and hope to have dinner there with Jac sometime soon in the future. I want more butter chicken and onion bhaji! Chutney Mary’s is located at 67 Rokeby Road on Subiaco. For further information such as opening hours and menus (including takeaway and banquets), see the restaurant’s website.