THE DARBAR, South Fremantle
by JENNY D’ANGER:
SOME of the best Indian/Nepalese restaurants are found in the UK so my local favourite The Darbar had something to live up to when I took the English rellies out for dinner recently.
I don’t know why I was worried, I’ve never had a meal there I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed and when it comes to grabbing a takeaway it’s usually Darbar.
It opened down the road almost two years ago, and if anything the food is even better than my first memorable meal.
The owners hail from the south of Nepal and the menu reflects the cuisine of near neighbours India and Tibet.
I was keen for my guests to try the subzi pakora ($7), something I can’t go past and which they’d not had before.
As usual these were fantastic, the chickpea flour (besan) batter crisp, with a nutty flavour and the encased vegetables mouthwatering.
“Phew, we’re off to a good start,” I thought as they happily chowed down, between slurps of a damn fine mango lassi ($5.50).
They ordered a tandoori chicken ($16) each. Good thing the delightful waiter misunderstood and they only got one sizzling plate as they never would have managed two.
The chicken was tender and fell off the bone, although the drumsticks were small compared to British chickens so there was some grumbling (they are Poms, after all).
But it was thumbs up for flavour, and overall quantity.
The D’Angers ordered the pharsi ko tarkari ($14), a pumpkin masala with mustard seeds, fenugreek and ginger—a Nepalese speciality, along with a vegetable korma ($16) and a biryani ($11.50).
The masala could have been spicier but the vegetable korma was a real winner, packing a flavoursome punch, as was the vegetable byriani.
Neither the garlic naan nor aloo paratha (naan stuffed with a spicy potato mix) lasted long and plates were wiped clean.
Stomaches groaning the ladies declined sweets—for all of 30 seconds.
We managed to share the delectable gulab jamun ($5) and a mango kulfi ($4.50), while the boys went for a pistachio kulfi.
The house-made icecreams are fantastic, the mango flavour coming through while the subtler pistachio version is uber-creamy.
As per usual the Darbar was an enjoyable—and affordable—meal, with smiling, efficient service.
And it’s nice to find a restaurant that doesn’t slug dinners for unscrewing a bottle of BYO wine.
Indian Nepalese Restaurant
34 Douro Road, South Fremantle
open Tues to Thurs 6–10pm
Fri, Sat, Sun 11am–2pm and 5–11pm