IF you have a variable rate mortgage, Hulme Court could be your financial saviour.
The Myaree shopping complex has a range of cut-price eateries that will appeal to your bank balance and your gut, especially if you like Asian and Indian cuisine.
Situated off Leach Highway, beside the row of car garages, Hulme Court is not going to win any awards for its feng shui or edifying architecture, but it has a sort of dishevelled charm, like a culinary version of Columbo.
Tucked away in the corner is Samrat – an unassuming Indian joint with a small shopfront and green and gold signage.
The menu had all the old favourites covered – tikka, korma, masala and vindaloo – as well as a nice selection of tandoori dishes (achari chicken tikka, tandoori jhinga, seekh kebab) and other dishes which I had never tried like saagwalla (cooked with fresh spinach and onion gravy) and nizam (featuring potatoes and coconut cream).
There was also a decent range of tandoori breads including paneer kulcha (naan stuffed with cottage cheese) and parantha (flaky wholemeal buttery bread).
With the over-indulgent festive period looming and my wife saying my gut looks like a pasty space hopper, I broke with the habit of a lifetime and ordered a vegetarian curry.
I was definitely in uncharted territory as I traversed the long list of Paul McCartney-friendly dishes including sabzi bahar, aloo gobi and kadai paneer.
I eventually plumped for the palak mushroom ($18) and then sat back in shock, eyeing up other people’s meat dishes.
If Popeye ate curries this would be his go to – a bright green specimen crammed with fresh blended spinach and hearty chunks of mushroom.
Or alternatively the dish could be used as a blood transfusion for The Incredible Hulk.
I could feel the vitamins surging through my body as I ate the tasty and rather refreshing spinach sauce with the meaty shrooms having plenty of flavour and a nice semi-firm texture.
It’s probably a dish you would have as a side or to share, but when combined with the aromatic basmati rice ($3.50) it was very filling and could pass as a main. Very tasty and enjoyable.
I really enjoyed mopping up the curry with my keema naan ($6) which was stuffed with lamb mince and had a nice texture.
It was a bit on the small side though, so hopefully the regular naans are bigger.
My wife “Special K” normally worships at the feet of the anodyne korma (she grew up reciting chapters from the CWA Cook Book like they were holy scriptures) but I nudged her slightly out of her comfort zone to try the Chicken Chetty Nadu ($21.90) a South Indian dish which promised ‘potato and exotic spices with coconut cream’.
“The chicken is nice and tender and the sauce has quite a nutty flavour with the coconut adding a hint of sweetness,” she noted.
“There’s plenty of chook but it could do with a bit more potato in there to bulk out the sauce, which is very moreish and quite mild.
“All in all it’s an enjoyable curry without quite having the wow factor.”
The only disappointment were the vegetable pakora ($9): I like fluffy large pakora with the almost jaggy texture, but these were small, deep-fried to death and lacked the quality of their larger cousins. Although they were tasty enough and the bag was empty by the end of the meal.
Samrat is a solid option in these tough economic times and has enough variety to satisfy both curry dilettantes and aficionados.
Samrat Indian Restaurant
48 Hulme Court, Myaree
by STEPHEN POLLOCK