Those familiar with Kyneton’s Indian restaurant Dhaba at the Mill and the Dhaba Food Truck rejoiced when owners Jessi and Jennifer Singh announced that they would be opening a second restaurant in Fitzroy North.
Named after the popular hand painted slogans that decorate the back of vehicles across India, Horn Please showcases local ingredients cooked with care.
The reconfiguration of the old Gurkhas Nepalese space features a bar at the front and dining tables and chairs towards the back. The walls are adorned with kitsch Indian studio portraits Jennifer collected during numerous trips to India. Local artist Rebeccah Power has painted her own versions of the portraits, which hang next to the photographs. She’s also hand painted Hindi proverbs straight onto the wall that leads into the kitchen. There are plenty of tables and chairs, which will come in handy when word gets out about the place, as Horn Please doesn’t take bookings for groups smaller than eight.
The considered menu, devised by North Indian-born chef Jessi alternates regularly and all dishes highlight locally sourced ingredients including beef from Bendigo, Trentham potatoes, Macedon Ranges lamb and wines from the same region.
There are seven curries to choose from (four meat and three veg) and a black dahl, and the naan is thin and slightly charred and comes in three variations.
But it’s the street food section of the menu that really stands out. The Papdi Chaat, described as “the motherland’s version of nachos and salsa” is a colourful bowl full of crispy deep-fried wafers, cubes of just-cooked potatoes and chickpeas covered in sweet and green chutneys, yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. It’s the perfect foil to one of the 21 beers on the menu, not to mention a great snack.