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Spice Mix Restaurant

  • Restaurants
  • Brunswick East
Aloo chop at Spice Mix Restaurant
Photograph: Rushani Epa
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Time Out says

Spice Mix Restaurant is serving up top-notch curries to the denizens of Brunswick East

Spice Mix sits on the busy intersection of Glenlyon Road and Lygon Street, just after the hubbub of Lygon’s Italian restaurant-concentrated precinct and near Middle Eastern diner Rumi and American-style barbecue joint Bluebonnet. It appears like any usual late-night Indian takeout venue, with a flashing neon open sign and a chalked-up A-frame sign out the front of a tram stop, but inside it tells a very different story.

Owner and head chef Pramod Soni, otherwise known as Hari, appears from the back and immediately greets some walk-ins by first name basis. They exchange hugs and handshakes, and one jokes about coming in just to visit him. As other guests slowly arrive and fill the space with BYO cheapies, he goes around spreading his warm hospitality. “You’ve eaten here before with your mum, and you sat there,” he gestures towards an empty table. He’s not wrong.

The North Indian and Nepalese-leaning menu has been condensed since my last visit. “I just changed my menu last week,” Hari says proudly. He’s rid the venue of its multi-page menu so customers don’t need to worry about flicking through countless pages.

We’re asked about our preferences (if you ask for it hot, be prepared to be hit with enough capsaicin to give you a temporary lip job), and it feels as though we’ve visited a culinary doctor. Hari asks our preferences and prescribes a myriad curries that work in harmony together. The first installment of our panacea is aloo chop, two perfectly rounded patties of deep-fried potato coated in spiced chickpea flour batter à la pakora, served with a light mint raita that, while moreish, does more to cut through the fat than the heat.

You know that moment on shows like The X-Factor, when the unassuming contestant turns out to have a voice so angelic that the judges dissolve in tears? The beef masala, which looks ordinary on the surface, falls apart quicker than Mariah Carey's relationship with James Packer and leaves us in a state of shock, begging for more. It’s remarkably tender and dressed with crescents of red onion and coriander that issue an electric shock to the peppery chunks of beef.

Next up is the restaurant’s signature Spice Mix Chicken, a creamy, rich number with more spices than the Colonel himself. Cardamom and cloves vie for our attention as sizzling plates arrive at neighbouring tables.

The soupy daal tadka that accompanies our meat fest is high in umami, studded with islets of mustard seeds and a floating island of dried chili, all nicely soaked up by charred quilts of garlic naan, and it proves itself to be the necessary underdog that makes the others look better.

"I'm going to start offering crab curry," says Hari, as a Sri Lankan punter has requested the crustacean. 

Spice Mix is happy to cater for special requests, including the requirements of those with FODMAP intolerances. The restaurant is just as welcoming to those looking for a late lunch as it is those stumbling in at 2am in need of a decent feed. Just look for the flashing neon sign.

Written by
Rushani Epa

Details

Address:
180 Lygon St
Brunswick East
3057
Opening hours:
Daily 4.30pm-2.30am
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