Bhang is a form of edible marijuana common in India. Brunswick’s newest Indian restaurant, which shares its name with the stuff, has a disclaimer at the bottom of its website making it clear you won’t find bhang on the menu. So no complaints, please.
Bhang was conceived out of two people’s admiration of “an extremely versatile cuisine,” says co-owner Sway Quach. Chef Dougal Colam is Bhang’s other co-owner. They're also the pair behind Tom Phat.
“I was born in the UK,” says Colam, “and when I was growing up, Indian food was pretty much the national cuisine.”
The pair has also spent time in India; Colam has travelled there three times in the past two years.
“We couldn’t really find [the kind of] Indian food in Melbourne that we found in India – that is, dishes from heaps of different regions and street-style food,” says Quach. The Bhang menu is devoted to regional street food and divided into small plates, salad, charcoal-oven dishes, curries and desserts.
“We don’t want to be a restaurant solely serving up Northern Indian curries. We’re trying to cover dishes from regions all over the country,” says Quach.
So kori gassi is a spicy chicken, coconut and tamarind curry from the coastal city of Mangalore; gobhi korma is Northern-style charcoal-roasted cauliflower; bharwan vanghi is a chargrilled-eggplant dish with peanuts, coconut and coriander that comes from the western-Indian province of Maharashtra.
Colam and Quach’s restaurant is located in a converted former warehouse in a street off Sydney Road. The pair fit out the space themselves with timber, exposed brick, minimalist track lighting and vintage Indian film posters.
The drinks list features beer, wine by small producers and Indian-inspired cocktails that make use of ingredients such as chai and cumin. You’ll also find mango or medjool lassis, and Indian whisky.
A lamb-neck curry has been one of the most popular dishes among diners, says Colam.
“As have the samosas,” adds Quach.
And if you want to ramp the spice? “Just ask,” says Colam.
1/2A Mitchell Street, Brunswick
(03) 9383 2488
Tue to Sun 5pm–10pm