Singh’s Bala Da Dhaba is an Indian restaurant on Malvern road, between Burke and Tooronga roads.
Singh’s used to be mine and J’s local Indian. We could walk there. We were regulars.
And while we do have a new local, walking distance, Indian, it doesn’t quite match up to Singh’s.
I had gone into the city after work to meet J and get our taxes done (fun huh?) and the original plan was to head to Fitzroy street, and maybe Golden Fields (this was before it closed) for dinner.
We decide we couldn’t be bothered and I thought we could just grab something closer to home, but J had a better idea. Head to Malvern and check out our old Indian place! I loved it! And it would mean we wouldn’t be driving home in rush hour. He’s a thinker, my husband.
It was fun driving around our old ‘hood and seeing what has changed, and what hasn’t, and yes, we did take a swing down our old street.
Parking was a bit crazy in the restaurant’s vicinity but we eventually found something down a side street.
We headed to Dynasty Fine Wines to pick up a bottle of something to have with dinner, and since we had last been in the area they have expanded to include a sit down area and there is a small selection of wines by the glass available to enjoy in store and a couple of food items as well.
Of course we had to sit and have a drink before dinner! If I recall correctly we had a Prosecco.
We must have mentioned to the guy behind the counter that we were heading next door for dinner, because he gave us a voucher for 20% off our meal. Bottle of plonk in hand we exited one building and went straight into another.
Nothing much has changed interior wise at Singh’s, and we got one of our usual tables in the window!
We were quickly nibbling on the complimentary pappadums with accompanying sauces. Funnily enough, our new local Indian used to do these, but doesn’t anymore.
While there were a few dishes that we knew we had to order, we also tried something different as well.
We didn’t know what the samosa chat (chef’s special) was, but on asking were told it is smashed up samosa topped with crunchy noodles, yoghurt and other stuff I can’t remember! Whatever, it sounded great!
And it was!
J reckons they use the samosas that don’t turn out right in dish (eg, are broken or not formed correctly), but even so I loved the flavours and textures and dubbed it the Indian version of nachos!
A must order entree dish was the tandoori lamb chops (lean lamb cutlets marinated with herbs and selected spices, grilled in tandoor).
You can see from the photo that this dish comes out sizzling hot. These chops have always been a winner with us and had us gnawing the bones to make sure we got all the meat off. Sadly, while our new Indian does a version of this dish, the lamb is always really fatty.
Another old favourite is the C.T.B.M (definitely the chefs special. An intriguing recipe of barbecued chicken and makhani sauce) and to that we also added a lamb vindaloo and masala kulcha (bread stuffed with homemade cheese, mashed potato and a pinch of spices) and rice.
I actually preferred the lamb over the C.T.B.M. The C.T.B.M had the flavour I remember, but it wasn’t as strong, and the sauce seemed a little gritty.
But overall, we were very happy with our dinner, and the decision to head back to an old haunt.
In fact, I was so happy I suggested Singh’s as the venue for a catch up with KB1 and KB2! Luckily, they both love Indian food and the location was convenient to us all.
I may have bullied them into ordering the samosa chat. But they both raved about it so I don’t feel bad. We also shared the onion baji (spicy onion fritters, buttered and deep fried).
The colour might be a bit off putting, but the onion fritters are addictive little devils.
It took us ages to decide on our mains. The original decision was two vegetarian dishes and one meat dish. But when we started looking at the veggie options, there were too many great sounding dishes and we decided to get three veggie dishes. Then KB2 saw a lamb dish come out at the table next to us, and decided that she and I should share a meat dish. I was good with that. So in the end we went back to the original choice of two veggie and one meat.
Mind you, there was still debate about which dishes to choose!
In the end we ended up with (top to bottom in the pic):
- malai kofta (cheese and vegetable dumpling cooked in Dhaba style sauce)
- saag paneer (cheese and spinach cooked with a delicious combination of garlic, tomato and spices)
- lamb madras
And the obligatory rice, plus masala kulcha cause I am addicted to that stuff.
More solid dishes from the team at Singh’s. We did think the dumplings didn’t have much flavour without the sauce, and a couple of the lamb pieces were a bit chewy, but overall we were happy, and very full, campers.