95 Queen Victoria St, Fremantle
PH: (08) 9335 2400
Are you Goan to Bengal?
Bengal Indian Restaurant in Fremantle offers you an experience all the way from Goa in India. But forget about traditional Indian cuisine. The state of Goa has a rich Portuguese influence, which means its food is slightly different to what you’re expecting, something I believe is the appeal of this restaurant.
My first dish was an entrée of Prawn Peri Peri, which was on the specials board. Keeping in line with Goan cuisine, the prawns were cooked with a variety of spices that gave the dish a slightly salty flavour. I enjoyed them so much; I even went as far as eating the tails. While this dish is great on its own, I’d recommend pairing it with a glass of 2012 Silkwood Sauvignon Blanc (Pemberton, WA) for a whole new burst of flavour. This was a bottle we bought ourselves, but Bengal has since been granted a liquor license, so now you can choose a bottle from the restaurant’s own selection.
My colleague ordered the Chicken Tikka, three succulent boneless chicken pieces marinated in yoghurt, herbs and spices, then char grilled in a tandoor oven. This dish is more of a throw back to traditional Indian cooking with a bit of spice. It comes with a mint sauce, so if it’s too hot for you, the sauce is a great idea. In fact, I’d recommend it regardless.
Another fact about Goan food is that it’s quite tropical, which is why it’s not unusual to see a mango lassi on the menu. This homemade yoghurt drink is made from natural yoghurt flavoured with fresh mangoes, giving it a rich mango flavour. It was thick and fresh; the perfect summers drink!
Next we ordered the Goan Fish Curry: tender fish pieces simmered in a zesty tomato and onion masala. The first thing I noticed after taking my first bite was the tenderness of the fish. It was real ‘melt in your mouth’ material. This dish also has a bit of spice, so if you don’t like it too hot, you can ask for less spice. And that goes for most of the dishes. Or, opt for a palate cleansing wine.
For mains, my colleague ordered the Goat Xacuti (that’s pronounced ‘Zacootee”), which was goat cooked in onion and tomato and mild spices. This was also a special of the day. The sauce in this dish is made from a mixture of coconut, red chillies and a selection of individually roasted spices including cumin, fennel seeds and garlic. The result is a flavour well worth trying, particularly with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
In between meals we were given a complimentary serve of pappadums. They’re served with a yoghurt/sour cream-like sauce and cubed vegetables. It’s different to the dips you might expect to pair with pappadums, but I have to give it to them, it really works!!
Finally we shared the Butter Chicken: boneless pieces of chicken, baked in a tandoor oven, marinated in ginger and garlic, served in a sweet cream and tomato sauce and garnished with almonds. While this would have to be my favourite dish of the day, it’s slightly sweeter than what you’d expect from your everyday butter chicken. But for me, this was the appeal and I wasn’t surprised to learn it’s one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
Chefs Mervyn Rodrigues and Melwyn Travasso run Bengal Indian restaurant. Both have lived in Goa prior to moving to Australia, so you can guarantee that the food you’re getting is the real deal. So if you don’t have the money to fly to Goa, checkout the Bengal Indian Restaurant instead.
By Lauren Kelly
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95 Queen Victoria St, Fremantle