It has been a while since I last shared a review of places I’ve eaten at for my regular date night. There are of course two very valid reasons for this. First being the fact that we’ve been going to places that I’ve already featured previously (Hello Rockwell & Sons!) and the second reason is the lack of photos. As much as I LOVE my food, I am NOT a food blogger, I cannot sit there and start snapping photos of what I’m about to eat when a) I’m ravenous b) too embarrassed to actually snap a photo. I mean I don’t even feel comfortable snapping a selfie for goodness sake, let alone photos of what food I am about to eat. When I do, I make sure the lighting is decent enough and I do it really quickly.
So, thankfully I managed to check out a place we’ve never been to before – well we have with the kids and decided to go again for our date night – and I was quick enough to snap, snappity, snap a few photos.
This hole-in-the wall Indian restaurant is situated over in Clayton on Clayton Road. It’s not something you would have thought of venturing into unless you actually knew of someone who had recommended the place. You see, we discovered Man-O-Salwa through Mr. C’s Facebook feed. He was browsing through his newsfeed (I called it stalking, he called it researching) and chanced upon one of his ex-high school mates who was thanking another ex-high school mate for recommending this place to him. Apparently the food was good AND authentic.
Now, I don’t know how we could determine how authentic a cuisine is, I mean I could open up a restaurant or eatery and sell Malay food and call it authentic because I’m a Malay, because seriously, HOW do you determine authenticity? We once went to a French restaurant somewhere in Glen Waverley, loved it and felt that the food was true to its French form. Or as best as we know. Then Mr. C’s father found out the chefs were Asians even though the Maitre’ d was actually French. His thoughts were, how authentic was the food if it wasn’t cooked by a French? I laughed of course because what he failed to see was the fact that the chefs might have been trained under a French chef or trained to cook French cuisine. See what I mean by authenticity? Anyway, I digress. Back to what I was saying. How did we determine how authentic the place was? By the fact that other Indians eat there too! I’m serious I mean, isn’t that how we determine how authentic a place is? Take for example a Chinese restaurant that is frequented by the Chinese, then it means it’s down pat good AND authentic. 😉
Back to Man-O-Salwa. We tried the place two weeks ago with the kids. You see my kids are huge fans of Indian food too so we thought why not. It was however a bit too spicy for their liking – even though they did finish up their food! We went there again on Saturday for date night, already having an idea of what to have.
Mr. C and I ordered the goat biryani to share and another dish from their charcoal selection. We had previously tried their chicken biryani but this time I decided to go with the goat. Their biryani was cooked to perfection giving off a lovely aroma and a nice fluffy texture mixed in with the spices from the goat. For those wondering what biryani is, it’s a one pot dish of basmati rice and meat with a gorgeous mix of spices and the best way of cooking it is by using a pressure cooker to help seal in the aroma of the spices.
I am a huge fan of biryani, whatever the meat and it’s been a while since I last had a mega good and satisfying one. If it’s the one thing you should try at Man-O-Salwa, I would say go for the biryani. It is on point in terms of taste, texture and the aroma is too delicious to ignore. I’m actually wishing I could have some for lunch today as I’m typing this up!
The behari chicken tikka with bone came with two naan breads, salad and raita on the side, as do all the other choices in their charcoal selection.
In all honesty I have no idea what the differences were between the different dishes except for the type of meat used – chicken or beef. So when Mr. C asked me what was the differences between the regular chicken tikka and the behari chicken tikka I just gave him that blank look, because I had no idea either. Regardless, it had a lovely spicy taste.
As I’ve mentioned at the start, Man-O-Salwa is a hole-in-the-wall so prices aren’t as exorbitant as some of the other Indian restaurants I’ve been too. The biryani was only $12 and it fed the two of us nicely and then some. In fact we could have just gotten another side dish instead of something from the charcoal selection because we were struggling to finish our dinner. The dishes from the charcoal selection start at $12 with the most expensive being only $16.99. Wow, it just hit me that our date night dinner was only $26! That’s the total amount! We chose to just drink plain tap water because I just didn’t want to have to compete with the delicious spices I was having.
The service was alright I guess. They were friendly but once they got busy, you could end up waiting quite a long time for your food. Although strangely we didn’t have to wait as long when we went there with the kids previously. I’m guessing that Saturday was a fluke and they accidentally delivered our order to another table who was in after us and had the exact same dishes. I’m not fussed because the place is clean, they were friendly and hello, it’s not a 5 star restaurant for goodness sake so what more can you ask for?
This will definitely be a place we’ll be frequenting should the craving for Indian food arises. Clayton has definitely grown with a multitude of different restaurants popping up on the row of shops at Clayton Road. I foresee future date nights and Friday family dinners in that area.
333A Clayton Road, Clayton
Are you a fan of Indian cuisine? Which dishes do you normally have when you do indulge? If you’re in Melbourne, where are your favourite Indian places to eat at?