27 October 2013
Our visit on Saturday night to Darbar restaurant was another online coupon purchase that scored all-you-can-eat mains for 6 people. As usual, the regular prices are listed in this review because not everyone is an obsessive bargain-hunter!
The waitstaff were a little absent-minded but we eventually ordered some food and opened our bottle of wine ourselves and used the glasses sitting on the table. Heads up that BYO is $2 per person. They don’t give you an ice-bucket and the restaurant is BYO only, so the corkage policy seems expensive and nonsensical.
The free papadums were stale and oily, but we still munched on them while we waited for our food. It was a little stingy to provide only 4 papadums at a table of 6 people…
Chicken momo (usually 8 pieces for $9)
The chicken momos are usually served as 8 pieces rather than 6 pieces but our coupon arrangement mixed things up. Himalayan Nepalese makes momos so much better with soft wrappers and juicy meaty filling. Unfortunately, the thick doughy wrappers on the momos at Darbar restaurant made the dumplings too dry and chewy.
Tandoori chicken ($15)
Our tandoori chicken arrived sizzling on a hotplate. The raw cabbage and carrot really didn’t add anything to the dish. However, we all enjoyed the tandoori flavour with a squeeze of lemon (warning: it’s too hot to pick up). My chicken hunk was breast meat so there were lots of bones, but it was still tasty.
Lamb korma ($19)
While the lamb was tender and the flavours were creamy and mild (as hoped for), the sauce was quite watery. Overall, this was a pretty average dish.
Paneer tikka masala ($17)
I love ordering paneer (soft cheese) from Indian restaurants because they tend to excel at vegetarian options. There was lots of cheese in this dish, but the sauce was quite sweet and was missing the rich fragrance that I hoped for. Another slightly disappointing order.
Lamb chops ($19)
The lamb chops were described on the menu as “Nepalese style” so I was surprised to discover that this dish was basically the tandoori chicken dish with lamb instead. Lots of bone and cabbage, not enough meat, but still tasty.
Butter chicken ($18)
Butter chicken is a staple order, like Aussies ordering honey chicken at a Chinese foodcourt shop. We all enjoyed the butter chicken, but I honestly wonder if you can really mess it up. It didn’t taste too different from the $5 curry that I get down the road from the local Indian take-away joint.
Paneer saag ($17)
Major disappointment with the saag paneer. The spinach was flavourless and not even a little bit spicy. While the spinach was mushy as expected, there wasn’t much cheese floating about inside.
Chef’s special lamb ($21)
Probably one of the tastiest dishes of the night was the Chef’s special lamb, which was a mild and creamy curry. It is really difficult to distinguish the different types of curry from one another because the menu descriptions are super vague. This is probably one of the only dishes that I would order again if I return to Darbar restaurant.
Darbar’s mixed vegetables ($13)
Bleuugh. The mixed garden vegetables were boring and uninspired. Definitely would not order this dish if I was paying regular prices, but it wasn’t even really worth eating.
Butter naan; garlic naan ($4.50 each)
The naan was fluffy and tore apart easily. We also had three plates of steamed rice, which usually cost $5 per serving. I reckon that’s pretty damn expensive for plain rice.
Service was patchy and depended a lot on the waitstaff that we managed to get to serve us. They serve free tap water but don’t bother giving you new bottles unless you ask them. We ended up stealing water from an empty uncleared table and leaving some of our empty dishes on the adjacent table because they couldn’t be bothered clearing tables. Ehhhh.
Our meal would have cost roughly $35 each if we paid regular prices. To the credit of the man at the cash register, he didn’t charge us $2pp corkage when he saw my surprise and horror. Thanks to that gesture, we left in a reasonably good mood with full bellies.
Likes: tandoori chicken, Chef’s special lamb curry
Dislikes: watery or flavourless curries, sporadic and unreliable service
Value for money: not great because the food is really average
Overall: there are heaps of other Indian restaurants that do it better
34 Douro Rd
South Fremantle WA
(08) 9336 3600