The call for Canberra’s Best Curry drew quite a few nominations for a range of restaurants across Canberra. In the end, the taste off came down to Rama’s in Pearce and Indian Affair in Phillip.
To set up on an even footing we ordered dishes that both restaurants had on their menu. Lamb Madras, Palak Paneer, Dahl and rice with Papadams.
We started with Rama’s. I have been a fan of Rama’s for a while so was pretty happy to see it in the final two. We ordered and my husband went around to collect (I have small children – dining in isn’t often an option). He was pretty impressed with the friendly service. The order was waiting and they confirmed all the dishes to ensure they were in the bag (this makes me happy – there is nothing worse than getting home, cracking the top off a beer and realizing your rice is missing).
It’s been a while since we ordered a curry so we both enjoyed it immensely. The smells, the flavours, the creaminess – all assisted by the happy addition of a couple of bottles of Kingfisher. The Lamb Madras was the star of the show for our Rama’s meal. The pieces of lamb were big enough to really notice but tender and melt in the mouth. The sauce was creamy without being heavy and hot without removing all sense of taste from the experience. The Dahl too was delicious although hotter than I had expected. I was a bit disappointed in the Palak Paneer as the cheese pieces were a bit too big and the cheese was a bit chewy and overcooked. The sauce though was very nice. Papadams were a good size and crisp.
We ordered the same from Indian Affair (although their Dahl was made from red lentils compared to Rama’s which was yellow lentils). The pieces of lamb in the Madras were smaller than those from Rama’s and got a bit lost in the heavier sauce. It was good though – certainly not a curry to be sniffed at. The Palak Paneer was streaks ahead of Rama’s with the cheese a much more pleasant consistency. The Papadams were disappointing though – small and not quite ‘puffed up’ as I would hope. They looked like something I would produce if attempting myself, which is no great shakes.
Both measured up pretty much neck and neck for price, although this was dependent on the 10% discount for takeaway at Indian Affair.
For me, Rama’s was the better experience. It didn’t sit as heavy on my stomach or leave me with that slight buyer’s remorse that curry sometimes can. That being said, Rama’s is Fijian Indian, whereas Indian Affair is North Indian. My husband thoroughly enjoyed Indian Affair as the flavours reminded him of the curries primarily found in his hometown of London.
As I am the writer I will declare Rama’s the winner, as those pieces of lamb in the Madras really were quite something. But, take it as you will. If you enjoy a heavier, richer curry, Indian Affair may be your match.