Chillipadi – India – Melbourne Central

Chillipadi – India in Melbourne Central and right next door you have Chilli-India, express indian food. I’ve been to Chillipadi Mamak Kopitiam and enjoyed the hawker style Malaysian food there and I’ve been to Chillipadi Watergardens where the food and service was okay but what I really liked was the decor of the restaurant and the massive round table for banquets and functions (gotta revisit the place, forgot my camera last time). So I was pretty excited and had mixed feelings about Chillipadi at Melbourne Central.

I was happy to be invited on Food Pamering Yourself’s 2nd Food Trail on a Wednesday night at Chillipadi-India so it was a relaxed setup and was able to share it with a good handful of other great food bloggers. We also got to meet Robert and Li (pictured) from Chillipadi who were wonderful hosts and Li explained and prepared the dishes for us and even gave us a good history lesson on Malaysian food and Malaysian heritage. Can’t thank Robert and Li enough for the wonderful feast they prepared for us with dishes from both Chillipadi-India and Chilli-India.

I’ve been past many times but in case you can’t find it there’s 2 entrances to Chillipadi-India. One is through Melbourne Central right next to Max Brenner Chocolate and the other is on the corner of Lt Lonsdale St and Elizabeth St. You can’t miss it.
Now on to the food gawking! We started with some red wine and some of us ordered our own drinks.Here we have the Milo Dinosaur, I tried this at the Mamak Kopitiam restaurant and thought it looked cooler in the jar they served it in but it probably tasted the same.I ordered the Bandung which is apparently a popular Malaysian drink which consists of milk, rose syrup and basil seeds. I really liked it, it was nice and refreshing and helped me with the spicy food. Behind the bandung was the Ribena & Lychees drink which also looked nice and refreshing.

Chicken Lobak, this was a great dish to start the night. Nice and soft with it’s chicken stuffing and bean curd skin.My picture doesn’t do the dish justice but this is a Duck Salad. The salad had slices of duck, walnuts, cherry tomatoes and some dressing.Pad Thai (Seafood) was cooked just the way I like it. Yumm! Update 15/06/11 7:25pm: This is actually Penang Fried Keuy Teow (thanks Ashely from Food Pampering for correcting me) Followed by some Fried soft tofu.Above is the Indonesian Beef Rendang which was a little spicy for me but I actually enjoyed it even thought got me a little flustered. I guess that’s why they’re called Chillipadi.Now I can’t remember what this was but it looked like layered roti with some filling. I should paid more attention. But I like anything with roti or roti like. Update 15/06/11 11:10am: This dish is Roti reuben, stuffed with chicken curry, mayo and sweet chilli sauce (from Ashley – I’m So Hungreeeee)Here we have prawns covered in flaky oats. Got the opportunity to get my hands dirty by peeling the skin or if you’re lazy or you like you can opt to eat the skin. I liked the prawns but the flaky bits didn’t do it for me.The Fish Curry was my favourite. Good amount of spice and the flavours all blended nicely and went well with the rice. From memory it had some vegetables and eggplant in it too. Will come back for this dish.To finish off our feast we had a calamari/seafood salad, at this point we were all pretty satisfied and couldn’t ask for me. But then we were introduced to one of the chefs at Chilli-India!We also got invited to watch him demonstrate some roti making.
Went back upstairs to find out, we were going to taste some more food from next door’s Chilli-India. Should of seen our faces, we were almost at the point of “time to release a button full” but our eyes still gleamed with excitement.I don’t know what it’s called but a long roti tissue dish came out with three types of dips. I think there was a coconut dip and a curry style dip and not sure what the other one was. The roti broke off easily and the dipping sauces were great. Good dish to have for a casual meetup or to start a feast off. Update 15/06/11 11:13am: This is called Dosai, made with rice flour.(from Ashley – I’m So Hungreeeee)Then we were served some Tandoori Chicken and some flavoured Basmati Rice. The chicken was good as you enjoyed the tandoori marinate and was nice and juicy.Followed by some super creamy Butter Chicken and roti chanai, my favourite. I could just eat roti and butter chicken all day long. Definitely come past for some of this.This was the final dish to arrive. Roti Tissue with chocolate syrup, condense milk and nuts to dress. We couldn’t keep our hands off it. Soft roti just breaks off and if the syrup and milk wasn’t enough you could take a dip at the pool of chocolate, milk and nuts at the bottom of the plate.To top off the wonderful feast we had, we were served some Green Tea infused with Rosemary. I’m not really into the infused flavours with green tea but this I liked! Where can I get some?We spent most of our time upstairs which had a beautiful array of wine bottles and Liquor for decor.There’s also a small balcony area upstairs with a good view of the alley or you can hire it out for private functions and also hire the upstairs area for functions (seats 60). Giving me ideas!
Good location, a favourite for the after clubbing scene being opened til 5:00am from Thursday to Saturday and a good range of food and prices according to your preference. I enjoyed the food, the company and Robert and Li were great. I would like to go back and have the full dining experience and try my favourites and more. Definitely recommend giving this place a go for a mix of Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Chinese and a bit of Japanese cuisine.

Location: Shop E07 Menzies Alley Melbourne Central, Crn Lt Lonsdale & Elizabeth, Melbourne.
Phone: 03 9663 5688
Website: http://chillipadi.com.au
Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday (10am til late), Thursday to Saturday (10am-5am)

Miss Jen’s Secret Garden of Vegetable and Herbs

She gets super excited about growing her own vegetables and greens that she always runs off to Bunnings and buys seedlings and little plants to grow…probably her biggest proud and joy is her cherry tomatoes which she names. Yes she NAMES them, Tom and Tam. She’s persistent that the names are gender driven.

Why? Tom [left] is slightly taller and narrow build while Tam [right] grows wider and produces more fruit. Does anyone agree?

Unfortunately earlier this year the sun was too strong and they withered away…so here’s her next batch…Tom and Tam 2.0.

Look at the concentration in watering those tomatoes…any wrong move and these tomatoes might have the same fate as the previous…

Not satisfied with just cherry tomatoes, a bit of chilli and corriander is worth a shot…


With a bit of love and hypnotism, she may be able to pull this off…

I’ll have to update the progress on my Facebook Page…GOODLUCK!!!…

Whilst Miss Jen was gardening…I found myself mezmerized by the beautiful plants and scenery in the backyard…I thought i’d share a little bit of it here too…

Mandala Restaurant – Asian Flavours

Nice and cosy vibrant restaurant with a wonderful array of Asian flavours and tasty dishes. I did admire and applaud their presentation of their entree and desserts although our main dishes had the salad dumped on top of the meat or main dish which disappointed me. The other annoying thing was our main dishes had a side salad that had the same flavours and mixture as our ordered side salad. Does that make sense? Well it does to me and got sick of eating the same salad over and over again. So I recommend to just enjoy the salad that comes with your main.

Enough whinging, now on with the dishes. First we started off with some Salt and Pepper Squid (with asian slaw and soy vinegar), Momos (pan fried pork dumplings with sesame tomato dip) and some Apple Chaat (spiced potato, fried lentil, yogurt raita, mint and tamarind chutney). The dipping sauces did it for me for the entrees and I couldn’t wait for my lamb main.

We shared our mains and ordered a Chilli Caramel Pork Hock (with asian herb salad and orange caramel), Slow Cooked Lamb Shank (with spiced bokchoy, wombok and market vegetables) and ordered a  (with pickled plum, toasted peanuts, cherry tomato). I thought the Chilli Caramel Pork was a bit too sweet although worked well with the salad. The slow cooked lamb shank was just as I expected and melted in my mouth and the soft shell crab hardly disappoints but this time it was a little salty for my liking.

Dessert is my favourite part of every meal and because I’m a diabetic it is often a rare occasion for my partner to allow me to have dessert so I cherished it “like a fat kid loves cake”. Dessert went a little something like this Pistachio Kulfi (with wild berries and mango puree) and Mandala Melt (strawberry, pistachio and mascarpone). I know my favourite part of the night was the dessert but I reckon the desserts were fantastic and I’d go back to try those desserts again but for a challenge I might try cook something similar to those desserts.

Mandala was definitely worth the visit but the mains somewhat disappointed me. I would definitely recommend trying their desserts and to have a walk down to the toilet as the little journey on the stone path was quite pleasant or on a beautiful warm night you could ask to sit outside and watch everyone go to the toilet 🙂

For more information and booking information you can visit site (it also includes their full menu)

http://mandalarestaurant.com.au

Location:133 Commercial Road, South Yarra 3141, Melbourne, Australia