Posts Tagged ‘indian’

30
Apr
2009

Jessie’s Curry Kitchen

Satisfaction

Finally back to the business of eating in Perth. I have long been missing the love of a good honest curry. Since the fateful closing of Suraj last year, there’s been a curry shaped void in my life that no amount of franchised Indian restaurants could fill.

Enter the charming Jessie and her curry kitchen.

Situated in a barely recognisable corner of Inglewood on the Beaufort St strip that holds so much potential for both greatness and disaster for potential dinner goers, you probably wouldn’t know it was there. If you did happen to walk past it, you’d more than likely assume it was just a dull little suburban Indian takeaway store and continue on your way to get a dodgy kebab… but then you’d be wrong.

What Jessie’s Curry Kitchen lacks in style, it makes up for abundantly in substance. Jessie works the kitchen, and her husband Jeya works the floor. Everything is made from scratch in the kitchen and the curries have a special quality to them that can only be construed as “love”.

The menu is a mixture of Indian and Malaysian dishes. There’s dosai, chapati, roti paratha, and selection of basic curries described succinctly as “chicken butter curry”, “chicken curry”, “fish curry”, “lamb curry”. No need for superfluous explanations or derivations as the flavours stand for themselves. The fish curry we had consisted of mackeral and had a texture so meaty I could have sworn it was chicken if I closed my eyes. I’m not sure if that’s a great compliment but for something so unassuming to completely surprise me is a rare and special thing. The lamb curry brims with clove and star anise, but doesn’t attack the senses. In fact all the dishes are quite reserved in the Johnny Cash (Ring of fire) sense.

Being from Sri Lanka originally before moving to Malaysia, there is also the added bonus of String Hoppers served up on weekends. They’re little bundles of rice noodles woven together into flat circles, and make a fantastic way to mop up dahl and curry.

Jessies Curry Kitchen : MenusCharles Melton : Rose of Virginia2007 Chalk Hill BarberaEye level BarberaJessies Curry Kitchen: Fish CurryJessies Curry Kitchen : Lamb CurryJessies Curry Kitchen : Chicken BiryaniJessies Curry Kitchen : Minimal ChicJessie in her kitchenDahlJessies Curry Kitchen : String HoppersJessies Curry Kitchen : ChapatiSatisfactionJessies Curry Kitchen : DoneJessies Curry KitchenJessies Curry Kitchen

On my most recent visit to Jessies with my dining entourage the meal started off with samosas, then moved on to every different type of curry, dahl, chicken biryani, hoppers, and roti. There was 6 of us, and I think the total bill came to around $114. Which was plainly ridiculous given the amount of gorging we’d all just done. Add to the fact that I don’t think Jeya charges anything for corkage, so the 3 or 4 bottles of wine consumed over the course of an hour or two were well and truly worth it. On a side note, I’m still to find a great wine to pair with curry, although a glass of Charles Melton “Rose of Virginia” donated by Mr Wino-sapien & family was perhaps a better choice than my Chalk Hill Barbera, which on it’s own is quite stunning, but with curry just seems to confuse things.

All romanticism aside, the place is small, pokey, hard to find if you aren’t looking, and has about as much atmosphere as a dentists waiting room, but once the food arrives it all just makes sense. Each time I’ve been there I’ve had strange moments where I catch the eyes of other diners and we share a look that somehow indicates we’re in the know. It’s a nod of the head and a sly smile (which could just indicate I’m about to get lucky) that says somehow we’re onto something here that no one else recognises, somehow we’ve come to find something quite special. And I completely agree.

Jessie’s Curry Kitchen & Cafe
869 Beaufort Street
Inglewood

Opening hours:
Wed to Sun: 11:00am to 2:30pm
5:30pm to 8:30pm
Mon: 11am to 2:30pm
Ph: 9271 8528

Jessie's Curry Kitchen and Cafe on Urbanspoon

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19
Feb
2008

The End is Nigh

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Eating Out

Messy satifaction

Sorry to be so dramatic… but I think you need to know. If by any chance you came across my post recently about Suraj Indian Cuisine in Mt Lawley, and thought it looked like the kind of place you want to try out, then you’d better do it soon.

According to Roger, Suraj will be closing down in a little over a week. Making way for a new restaurant development that will span the shop next door as well as the current Suraj premises.

All I have to say that it’s a great shame that a place serving food as simple and honest as this is closing down. If you haven’t yet been in, then do yourself a favour. Put aside any preconceived notions about food, service, and ambience, and taste the love for yourself.

Last time I spoke to him, Roger did say that there is a possibility he will open up somewhere else, but the general consensus was that if he couldn’t find another shop to rent in a decent area for a reasonable price, then that would be the end of it.

My other suggestion of just coming round to Rogers place whenever I have a hankering for chicken korma, chickpea curry, and a decent poori, didn’t really get the response I was looking for.

Get in now before it’s gone.

Suraj Indian Cuisine
513 Beaufort St
Highgate, WA 6003
(08) 9328 2858
Get directions

16
Oct
2007

Suraj Indian Cuisine

Suraj : Indian Cuisine - Dine In & Takeaway

What can I say about Suraj ? Ever since being introduced to it by my good friends Ben and Jen, it’s been a regular place for dinners of both the rowdy and refined version, a point of reference to every other Indian restaurant I’ve been to, and a wonderful example of food that is honest and simple and good.

Suraj is run by Roger, and his wife Susan (get it… Su-Raj). It’s also convenient that Suraj means “Sun”. He’s been in business for close to 15 years in the same spot, and I’m willing to bet that the menu hasn’t changed a hell of a lot in all that time either.

Suraj is not so much a restaurant but an institution of traditional Indian cooking, often dwarfed by it’s elaborate and decadent neighbours in the ever trendy Highgate strip. But while places like Jacksons, Veritas, Must, and Soto try to ooze style and charm, and fancy looking Indian chain restaurants start up across the road promising glitz and glamour… Suraj is unchanging in it’s quaint approach to no frills dining.

So after yet another great night of dining there with a group of friends and curry lovers. I thought it best to put something online about this place, as it is sorely under represented in the high stakes (steaks?) world that is the Perth restaurant scene (which may or may not be an oxymoron) .

Suraj : Indian Cuisine - Dine In & Takeaway Samosa Onion Bhaji Kellermeister Tempranillo the only menu Nothing superfluous Chicken Korma Theres a focal point there somewhere... Chicken Curry Poori ! None wasted Smudgey Wine Glass Kulfi tower No more kulfi Roger 

Of course I can see why it would be easy to overlook Suraj. The decor is drab (and that’s being polite), the florescent lights normally flickering overhead are more reminiscent of a hospital waiting room than a restaurant… and when there is more than 2 people in the place it’s almost impossible to hear anything over the resounding din caused by a complete lack of sound insulation.

But really… does any of that matter ? (Feel free to skip that question if your favourite restaurant is the Witches Cauldron, because you clearly enjoy spending stupid amounts of money on bad food, for the sake of supposed reputation).


Click here for large menu

Roger makes regular pilgrimages back to India to refill his spice coffers with the right quality of stock to use in his exacting recipes. Garam Masala is all ground by hand and even though I reckon I’m a dab hand at making the odd curry at home, Roger said it’d take me at least 3 years working full time to be able to reproduce any of his… which I will reluctantly concede may be true.

The menu is simple and consists of a number of curry dishes that for once actually taste different to each other. I can do no more than to point you to the blackboard above which is in essence all he does, aside from the occasional goat curry that manages to slip its way onto the menu depending on what his Halal butcher has in stock.

Highlights for me personally are the chickpea curry, the masala dhal, the beef vindaloo, and the magnificently airy pooris (or puri, i’m not really sure which, but i’ll go with what’s on the menu). The great thing though, is I can turn up to the place whenever I want, regardless of how late it is, and know that if people have already ordered I will love everything that comes out.

Suraj is not the kind of place to go if you’re in a hurry. Something I had to get used to the first time I went. But given the nature of the food, and the atmosphere of the place, I’m not sure you can rush things without losing some of the magic. Certainly the look on Rogers face when a large group of people all come in at once is a little troubling… but when the food arrives all is well and right in the world.

Chicken Curry Kulfi tower

On a sad note however. It seems that this little slice of Highgate history may not be too long for this world. The owners of the building are planning to take the shop back over within the next few months, and according to Roger, turn it into one big restaurant / bar combined with the shop next door. I asked if he’d be moving elsewhere and it doesn’t sound like he has the energy to start from scratch all over again. So the days of simple Indian pleasure Suraj style may be numbered.

If you haven’t been yet, then do yourself a favour. Get a couple of good bottles of wine, a few close friends, and swing by Suraj for a taste of food the way it should be made… from the heart.

Suraj Indian Cuisine
513 Beaufort St
Highgate, WA 6003
(08) 9328 2858
Get directions

08
Oct
2007

September : The Month that Was

Everlastings

So I am still alive. And in lieu of writing one of those smarmy posts about how busy I’ve been and how I should be posting more but am too tired/lazy/incontinent and how I’ve also been recovering from surgery, mourning my cat that just died, and trying to fix my broken computer… I thought I’d just go back and revisit the month that was September, and a few of the more meaningful events that happened. As always, in pictoral form… because we all know that a pictures worth a thousand words (unless of course you’re an editor, then they’re worth bugger all).

Corrigin Wildflowers

It was back to the country to help my parents out at the 2007 Corrigin Agricultural Society Show. The bouncy castle was getting a severe workout, the arts and crafts and tractor rides were in fine form, and in a little tent on the corner of the football oval, we had a mobile cafe set up churning out countless coffee’s and delectable treats to locals and visiting dignitary’s (Nicky Windmar and (Federal MP and all round hard head) Wilson Tuckey).

After the hectic pace of the show, we took a little time to relax and enjoy the peaceful nothingness that is the wheatbelt in the springtime. A short trip out of town to the dog cemetary for some sombre reflection, before checking out the wildflower drive, which had Sharon nearly hyperventilating in a state of flower induced frenzy.

Sharon loves flowers Not quite a castle Et Tu Why do I find this far more interesting than flowers ?  Over yonder Some kind of wildflower Everlastings 

Birthday Partays

Then it was back to big smoke for party shenanigans. Sharon and I have birthdays which are two days apart. So a semi tradition is forming whereby we group all of our friends into one big basket, and force them to pretend to get along while I drunkenly mingle my way around everyone. This seems to work out pretty well most years, and this year was no different. A great turn out of friends new and old came down to Must Wine Bar (the only wine bar in Perth I would consistently rate) and had a great night of food and drinks and laughs and the occasional puff on a Davidoff cigarillo.

Pre-drinks eating was done at the one and only Suraj, the simplest and best Indian I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in a long time (If you haven’t been there before, go soon, he’ll be closing down soon), before moving a few doors down to Must for Yering Station Pinot (thanks Manda), Pandalowie Tempranillo (cheers Christretto), Armagnac (what were you thinking Ben ??), and who knows what else…

Thanks to all the lovely people who came out and made it a great night for both Sharon and I. Boo’s and Hisses to anyone who bailed :)

End of the night dtm Me and the Valkyrie Kylie and Chris Must Wine Bar Me n Frank Colour Girl Photogenic Bastards J Nga Reflection Alexi Minh J and C 

In other news I may have had another coffee article in the Spring edition of the excellent Spice Magazine (which was in fact excellent before I started writing for it, and I’m not just saying that now because I am, although I’m sure it doesn’t hurt). It’s about the transition from instant coffee drinker, to espresso aficionado. If that kind of thing sounds interesting, please go and pick up a copy, or even better, buy a subscription !

Oh, and I also joined a gym… food blogging is not without it’s pit falls.

13
Feb
2007

A (Curry) Night to Remember

Curry !

I had the idea recently of organising a little curry night. I’ve been getting into all sorts of curry over the past couple of years, spurred on by Sharon introducing me to some excellent Malaysian curry. I’d never really understood the curry before then. I just figured it was a hot spicey kind of soup that other people ate, and that I didn’t like. I’m not sure why I had that idea, but I think it’s an important one to get rid of if you ever want to experience all the world of food has to offer.

Since then I haven’t looked back, having tried out a whole range of Malaysian, Thai, Southern Indian, North Indian, and Vietnamese curries, a good number of Moroccan tajines (which are almost kinda like curry), and doing my best to avoid Japanese curry, which still defies all logic.

So just last Saturday night a few of our closest curry making friends dropped by to share the love, and the food in their own special way. Sharon and I spent the better part of the day procuring supplies from Kongs (the local Asian supermarket), and preparing the base for her curry. I’m always amazed walking around in those places… it’s like, just when you think you have a pretty decent grasp on a type of food, you step one foot into a store, look around, realise you don’t know what even half of the stuff is for, and suddenly feel very small again.

A recent discovery along those lines for me personally was Asafoetida… which i’m sure is pretty common to my sub continental readers, but was a complete mystery to me. Turns out it’s a kind of spice made from the resin extracted out of the stems and roots of the Ferula plant, and is used particularly by Indians who are practitioners of Jainism, as a replacement for certain foods (onions, ginger, garlic) that they aren’t allowed to eat.

That has nothing to do with this post of course, other than to state formally that I still know bugger all about a great many things… and any education my learned readers are able to give is always appreciated.

So on to the curries.

Dan and Mabel brought a lovely lamb curry, I would say vindaloo, but I might be wrong, so i’ll stay general for now.
Dave and Mel also brought a lamb curry, this was a southern Indian style dish with no coconut milk and a predominant clove, cinnamon flavour to it.
Jen and Ben brought a Bicol Express (!). My first experience with Filipino curry and apparently one of the few of such dishes that exist in the Phillipines, It’s basically pork, chicken, beans, chilli, tumeric, and… ummm, stuff. Very tasty indeed and sadly too hot for the creator to manage, but well done Jen for taking one for the team.

Sharon made a Malaysian chicken curry. This one had a lot of ginger, chilli, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, garlic, onion, tumeric… all blended into a wonderful paste that got smeared all over the chicken (one the bone) while they cooked away for a good few hours til nice and fall apart-ified.
I was stuck for options, not having a home land from which to draw curry making experience from I either had to choose from my list of previous conquests that turned out ok, or tread the lonely road of experimental curry making.

Lamb curry Duck Curry

Plucking up all my courage, I turned the pages of Mel’s curry book she had kindly lent me, and settled on one that looked sufficiently different yet still tasty… Duck curry. A slightly odd choice perhaps, and not the most well known of all curries, but it was in the book dammit, and apparently is quite popular in the Kerala region of India where water fowl are more prevalent, and clearly not fast enough to not get eaten.

So I started with Duck breast… three of em, skinned and cubed. Fried a little fenugreek and fennel seeds in some oil and then added a whole onion, two green chillis, and a good dose of shredded ginger. When that was nice and soft I added some more chilli powder and a dash of turmeric. To that lovely concoction went the duck breast, to get coated and loved with all the spices and flavours. The rest was simple, throw in a few baby potatoes, a handful of curry leaves and a spash or three of coconut cream, and Babu’s your uncle. It turned out pretty darn good even if I do say so myself, and I do… Of course I am the worlds most biased food critic, and can quite easily overlook the slighty dry and somewhat gamey texture of the duck, which perhaps would have been nicer had I used it on the bone and cooked it for a couple more hours. Still, it was a triumph for experimental curriests the world over, and a great first effort.

Mel's mango cocunut puddings

We finished off with these lovely little mango and coconut puddings that Mel lovingly coaxed out their shells and served with a good dollop of ice cream.

All in all a great night, and like all things curry, the best was yet to come. Two days later and I’m still going strong with the left overs, and as much as a fan of Johnny Cash I am, there hasn’t been one ring of fire to speak of. Thanks to everyone for putting in the effort and all I can say is the next one will have some huge expectations… Anyone know where I can buy Iguana ?