Kate reviews: Bhang in Brunswick
1/2A Mitchell St, Brunswick
Click PLAY below to hear Kate’s review on 3AW Breakfast
Just a stone’s throw from busy Sydney Road, Bhang is a mysterious looking joint. A bright
sign and a big dark door, it’s hard to know what lies behind, but it’s worth looking.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. My introduction wasn’t great. Having made a booking
for 7.30pm, we were taken upstairs to learn the table wasn’t ready. Our waiter was confident
it’d be done in the 10 minutes it would take us to head back downstairs to the moody bar and
order a drink. Forty minutes later the offending party finally exited the building. A shame.
To be fair, we were comfy in the bar, despite it being a little too dark to make the menu
legible, it was funky, and the drinks were great. We tried the Indian lady – gin infused with
lemon rind, cumin and cinnamon & chai syrup, then balanced with Cointreau, lemon juice
and egg white. It was bright, light, citrus-y and I loved it.
We finally made it upstairs and I prayed that the food would be good after a false start.
Thankfully, my prayers were answered.
Intended to be a celebration of Indian cuisine from a broad range of regions, there aren’t too
many clichéd dishes on this menu – the hardest thing was settling on just a few.
It sounds ridiculous to say, but one of my favourite things for the entire night was the crispy
spinach chaat – literally just spinach leaves dipped in a chickpea batter, deep fried, with a
mint yoghurt and tamarind date sauce. I’m not kidding, I could have eaten a bucket of them.
Pani puris were little mouthfuls of fun – the semolina street snack filled with potatoes and
chickpeas then filled DIY-style with a tamarind sauce, a terrific pop of flavour.
As is so often the case, the vegetable dishes were standouts. There were some chargrilled
eggplants stuffed with peanuts coconut and coriander; and then the astounding cauliflower.
This korma-style dish is spiced with turmeric and chilli power, then roasted in the Josper
oven and finished with an almond and pistachio sauce. It was divine.
For the meat-eaters, a southern Indian Hyderabad chicken with a korma sauce, and a rich
Lamb Rassa from Maharashta – rich red curry with slow cooked lamb neck, perfect when
scooped up with some soft chapati bread.
It wasn’t the most auspicious of starts, but once we started to get fed at Bhang, the flavours
absolutely blew me away. Sometimes I forget just how tasty Indian cuisine can be –
complex, rich and a little ferocious at times.
This was a terrific, large menu, and I would absolutely head back to continue my journey
across India via Brunswick.