Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gaylord Indian, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

It isn't often you get to walk into an Indian restaurant with the sound of Chinese Opera in your ears. Not that that was the case during our visit, but Gaylord is located near the oft visited Shanghai Dumpling and if you walk down Tattersall lane at night it's quite common to hear singers practising in the upper floors of the buildings around you.

The moment we walked into Gaylord I wanted to like it. With all its mirrors (including the ceiling), the mismatched chandeliers and even a brass glitter ball it's very 80's disco meets Bollywood. You almost expect not to get the normal wait staff but a mix of well known Indian actors and dancing girls bringing out banquet dishes loaded with rice and goodies from the tandoor.

But rather than the stars doing the serving they have their photos posted on the walls. It seems that half the Australian cricket team from the last 20 years has visited at some stage, and Ian Chappell could use a frequent diners card. There were a number of photos up of people we didn't recognise, but the most recent visitors appeared to be Hamish and Andy who hosted their 'Learn India' show there a few weeks ago.

It's a good thing though that the entrance is so entertaining because we had to wait a while for someone to lead us to a table. Also, while we only got to the restaurant around 12.45 it was somewhat concerning to find ourselves in a large restaurant with only one other table occupied (two by the time we left at 1.30), particularly given Gaylord has been a Melbourne icon for as long as I can remember.

Anyway, Snooze, Chewy and myself all decided to go for thali lunches. Chewy and I both went for the meat thali - butter chicken, rogan joshand dhal with rice and butter naan. The butter chicken and rogan josh were quite reasonable, workmanlike efforts. The dhal on the other hand was good. I particularly liked the extra heat it packed compared to most around town, and the additional flavour created by the generous addition of fenugreek and black mustard seeds.

Snooze's vegetarian thali came with the same good dhal. However, there were issues with both of the curries in her thali. Snooze didn't finish her aloo mutter describing it as dire. The potato appeared to have been cooked and frozen at some stage because it was tasteless, and both stringy and mushy at the same time. The cheese in the palak paneer was good and the taste fine but the spinach sauce was overly runny. Consistent with our experience in getting a table, the thali took a while to come out and Snooze's was delivered several minutes after Chewy and I got ours.

The naan was also only delivered after we'd started on the thali but it was quite good and more generous a serve than in many places. The mango lassi Chewy and I ordered was appropriately sweet and creamy.

I'd be happy to give Gaylord another go and try some dishes off the mainmenu. That is despite the slow service and the issues with Snooze'sthali. The dhal in particular gives promise on better things on themenu, and I do really like the setup, which is reminiscent of an oldupmarket restaurant gone slightly to seed. However I do hope the blipswe encountered were the exception rather than the norm.

Food - 6.5
Service - 6
Ambience 7.5
Price - 7

4 Tattersalls Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9663 3980

Gaylord Indian on Urbanspoon

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