Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Masala choices

After a short-lived run as Badyals (complete with misguided World-on-a-plate external graphics which made it look like it must be a travel agent) the tired exterior of the former Bengal Tiger has been stripped back to reveal the original exterior tiling of the Nelson Hotel. Following successive failed experiments now at operating a successful Indian restaurant on this corner (and with Montague Street's other pub building currently laying empty) I'd imagine that there's a plot twist in store in the next chapter of the landmark. 
Which is good news for tiny upstart My Masala, who popped up unexpectedly not far along City Road last year, in the narrow terrace next door to the wondrous Wayside Inn. Peering through the window it really does look like this is a restaurant of just four tables; although in reality there is a second, even more bijou, room behind. However some tasteful decorative touches manage to make the modest little restaurant welcoming once you step past the vivid livery.

It's hard not to draw comparison with Port Melbourne's own Khansama Tandoori (which will soon be contending with new Bay Street competition itself, courtesy of soon-to-be-opened '"Spice Av."). While Khansama now offers a full drinks menu, this one still operates BYO, with only soft drinks and Kingfisher beer for sale. And physical constraints mean that only the Rouse Street restaurant could ever accommodate a larger group. Food wise they're quite similar; both offering honest North Indian curries at a reliable, though perhaps not outstanding, level.  But, when it comes to dining experience My Masala's cosy dining room wins with warmer ambience, and their service is friendlier too, whilst remaining sufficiently attentive (despite a constant stream of take away orders).

Main prices: $13.90 - $18.90 (plus rice/bread)
Beer range: Kingfisher
Wine range: BYO only
Quantity vs quality: You will not go home hungry
Nearest Tram: Montague Street (96)
My Masala on UrbanspoonBookings: 9690 0097

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