Katherine Place is like the Tardis of Melbourne Laneways. One minute you’re in the East Village holding onto a bagel, the next you’re biting the top off a Taiwanese xiaolongbao. Then there’s Delhi Streets, a lighthearted diner that delivers the foods of India’s streets.
Owner Charan Singh plastered the walls in Bollywood posters and loving odes to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. The furniture’s high-vis pink and yellow. The menu is equally bright: the bhelpuri is lifted with onions, tomato, coriander and tamarind. The papri chaat – lentil crackers with spud, chickpea and yoghurt – is described as “zingy Indian nachos”.
As the name suggests, Delhi Streets is all about street food, so rule out the heavy vindaloos and butter chicken. Rather, you’ll find feather-light dosas to drench in coconut chutney and sambar; or spiced chickpeas drizzled with tamarind and served with pickled onion. For those in the market for something more substantial, the Maharaja’s Thali provides a choice of three curries, rice, naan, raita, pappadum and salad.
Less traditionally Indian is a selection of burritos, wraps and burgers – some stuffed with paneer and mint chutney, others with chicken tikka. And, like any good Indian lunch, it’s rounded out with the saccharine: ice cream flavoured with pistachio, cardamom, saffron and cinnamon; or syrupy galub jamun stuffed with cottage cheese.