64 George St
Launceston, TAS 7250
Ph: (03) 6331 2500
I love Indian food. There’s no way that anyone who knows ANYTHING about me couldn’t know this. What I love most about visiting different Indian restaurants is that they often have very similar menus, but they all make everything differently/in their own way. Indian Empire is no exception to this.
Prior to my visit, I didn’t think to see if their menu was online. It in fact is. So… When I arrived and looked over the vegetarian section, I was feeling a bit nervous and uncomfortable. Just about everything there was known to me as containing cream, or was listed as containing paneer… Then I panicked and thought “what if they use ghee in everything???”.
Thankfully, the woman managing the restaurant was really helpful and accommodating – and best of all, she didn’t pull a face at me for being vegan. She pointed out a number of items in the vegetarian section that could be made without the cream, or could be made with vegetables instead of paneer, and she assured me that there wouldn’t be any ghee in my meals. ROCK AND ROLL, KIDS. Would it be inappropriate for me to propose to her? Probably… I’m sure she didn’t “swing that way” and neither do I (not that there’s anything wrong with that) – plus, Mr. AA was sitting right across from me.
These onion bhaji were very different to the ones I get at my favourite local restaurant, Curry Garden (which will forever be known in Bendigo as the “downstairs Indian restaurant” because there’s an inferior Indian restaurant next door and upstairs) – BUT they were almost as good. For a start, these were in clusters rather than rings and the seasoning was only very light. These would have been excellent if they weren’t burned.
The first main I chose (YES I CHOSE MORE THAN ONE!) was the dal makhani. I haven’t had one of these since going vegan because they’re always made with cream and every other restaurant I’ve been to has been unwilling to compromise on this.
This used to be my favourite curry… And I think it still is. Though really, it’s hard to pick just one. Normally dal makhani is mild, sweet and runny but this one had a bit of kick to it and it was really thick, rich and earthy. When I say that, what I mean is – you know you’re eating lentils. That’s definitely not a bad thing if you’re crazy about lentils like I am. I’d eat this curry over and over again in a heart beat.
My second choice was the vindaloo, made with vegetables instead of paneer. Holy hell. This had a tomato base and was heavy with a very aromatic mix of spices… Topped with the kind of heat that made my mouth tingle and my nose run. The best part was that even though it was hot, I could still taste all the flavours. I could actually decipher individual vegetables on my palette. That’s how spicy food should be, people!
I also ordered rice and roti, but didn’t photograph them. Rice is rice, not much to say there. The roti was perfectly thick and chewy – I hate when restaurants make their roti too thin and crispy – what kind of sauce do they expect you to mop up with that?