DINING REVIEW: The Grand Pavilion, Warners Bay

Warners Bay has had its share of Indian cuisine for some time. First there was the still popular Bay of India, but mainly for take away. Then, not long after, a fine diner, Silver Spoon followed, with immediate success. When this was succeeded a year or so ago by Brown Dog, aficionados of the food of the sub-continent were devastated.

So, it’s no surprise that when not so long ago, the next in the Grand Pavilion chain opened a couple of doors down, it was greeted with much acclaim.

PRIDE: Gora Gora and Binod Kharal cook up a feast in the kitchen.

PRIDE: Gora Gora and Binod Kharal cook up a feast in the kitchen.

It’s a chilly Friday night and we have the grandkids along, so we’re looking for dishes that are warming and will suit a variety of palates.

Our eight-year-old and six-year-old have pretty sophisticated tastes as long as it’s not too hot and the menu has plenty of variety, so it shouldn’t be too hard.

The fine, crunchy pappadams with both spicy and mild mint raita which arrive pretty quickly and disappear even more quickly are a good sign of things to come.

FLAVOUR: Tandoori lamp chops are fresh and tasty.

FLAVOUR: Tandoori lamp chops are fresh and tasty.

If you’re not too pedantic, a serve of spring rolls (4 pieces for $8.50), while not particularly Indian, is a good way to start. Crisp, delicate, bursting with finely shredded vegetables, not too oily – perfect.

Cauliflower bezule ($13.90), a spicy, South Indian entrée of fried cauliflower makes an almost guilt free entrée – well, it is vegetable, albeit deep-fried!

Eggplant and chickpeas ($15) is an excellent vegetarian choice for a main. Green chilli and spices provide a lively zing, cooled a little with fresh onion and tomato.

Amritsari fish ($19.90) is a dish from the Punjab you will find sold on street corners in Amritsar. The fish fillets are marinated in yoghurt and crushed spices, then deep fried, and come with lemon to squeeze over before eating.

Mildly spiced chicken korma ($18.50), cooked in a cashew and onion based sauce, flavoured with cardamom and a touch of cream makes a fine alternative to ubiquitous butter chicken. It’s popular with the kiddies, both old and young.

You can’t go far wrong by pairing tender lamb with almonds and pumpkin, and spiked with mustard and cumin ($19.90). The lamb is fall apart tender, the sauce, mildly spiced, or hotter if you prefer – your choice.

Kerala fish curry ($20.90) is redolent with fragrant spices as you would expect of a dish from the spice growing region of the south. Tamarind extract, curry leaves and a paste of onion, tomatoes, garlic and green chillies add to the pleasure.

CLASSIC: There are favourites and new twists, including the lamb shank masala, at The Grand Pavilion. Pictures: Simone De Peak

CLASSIC: There are favourites and new twists, including the lamb shank masala, at The Grand Pavilion. Pictures: Simone De Peak

Add plenty of fragrant, steamed basmati rice and some naan, both plain and garlic and your Indian feast is complete.

And if, as is the case with this greedy bunch, you have over ordered, you can take the rest home in a doggy bag to enjoy the next day.

There are desserts - gulab jamun, mango or pistachio kulfi, cheesecake-like rasmalai and halwa (all $9.90), but this lot has reached their limit. Even the kids have not quite managed to down an oversweet rose water lassi.

There’s always another day. And failing another visit, you can order online and they will bring it to you for $6.

This place is incredibly popular, so don’t think you can just turn up: you will be disappointed.

Quick Bite

The Essentials

  • What: The Grand Pavilion; 2/452 The Esplanade, Warners Bay; 4948 0092; www.thegrandpavilionwarmersbay.com.au
  • Wines: BYO   
  • Hours: Every day, 6.00pm to 10pm
  • Vegetarian: Extensive choice – a vegetarian paradise
  • Bottom line: About $20 pp.
  • Wheelchair access: Excellent
  • Do try: Almond pumpkin lamb
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