by JENNY D’ANGER: The maxim “never judge a book by its cover” can be equally applied to restaurants—you can keep the trendy glitz and glitter, for me it’s about the food.
So when we rocked up to this Munster eatery I wasn’t put off by the shopping complex locale, where the amusingly named Bollygood Foods shone like a tiny star in the otherwise dark row.
I thanked the gods I’d booked, as this place is “cosy” and was very soon full.
Chef and owner Nishantha Perera Colombo hails from Sri Lanka where he worked at a hotel belonging to the president’s sister, and cooked at presidential functions catering for up to 5000.
When his former boss’ son was in town recently he headed to the small eatery to sample some home cooking.
Mr Colombo is happy out of the limelight and in his own small restaurant.
“To cook is not about earning money, it’s like art,” he told the Herald.
Married to an Australian he has three Aussie kids aged 7 to 3, lives down the road in South Lake and reckons life doesn’t get much better.
He cheekily marries Sri Lankan and Indian cuisine with Aussie food, offering a range of Bollygood pies ($4.50) at the Fremantle Markets, with fillings such as butter chicken, beef vindaloo and veg korma.
With five people to share, entrées, not pies, seemed the way to go for our visit so we ordered onion bhaji ($5) and vegetarian spring rolls ($4.50), while big Dave ordered the big Bombay samosa ($3.50) a mountain of rich pastry, stuffed with potatoes, peas and spices.
We had a young bloke with us not used to anything as cosmopolitan as Indian food and this was both a gentle and delicious way to become acquainted.
He was happy to order something that sounded familiar, garlic prawns ($21).
Cooked in a butter, garlic and Indian spices it was a mouth-watering mix of sweet and sour tastes in a rich red sauce, which left young Mitchell smiling, and he and his mum tossing for who was going to get the last prawn.
The Goan fish curry ($18.50) was the favourite of both Dave and I, a flavoursome dish with the accent on coconut milk and fresh curry leaves (which grow in Mr Colombo’s garden).
But the chickpea and potatoes in a creamy curry ($14.50) was a close second, and the dhal ($12.50) was up there as one of the best I’ve had.
My carnivore guest tucked into the chicken korma ($16.50) a mild curry of cashews and cardamon.
Despite overloaded stomachs, the bowls were wiped clean with a light and flaky paratha ($4), leaving the dishwasher with not much to do.
I was shocked to discover my companions had never tasted a gulab jamul ($4.50), a situation I was happy to rectify.
The deep-fried sweet milk dumplings were fantastic, solid but not stolid and swimming in a delicious warm, rose syrup, winning everyone over.
639 Rockingham Road, Munster
Phone 6498 9566
open dinner Tue–Sun