Enter Via Laundry
Much like its diverse menu, which profiles underrepresented cuisines from across India, this intimate 20-seat restaurant has covered a lot of ground.
Owner-chef Helly Raichura started out hosting 10-person degustations at her Box Hill home before running out-of-town pop-ups. After amassing a waitlist in the thousands (demand exploded after she appeared as a guest judge on Masterchef in 2020), Enter Via Laundry found its permanent home in Carlton North in 2022.
Meals begin in a faux living room, where you’ll enjoy welcome drinks before moving to your table. That might be a private table in the front or one of the communal tables in the back, where you’ll get to meet and eat with other diners. The seasonal degustation explores 17th-century Mughlai cuisine (starting at $122 a head), featuring delicate meals that were eaten by the nawabs: semi-autonomous royals in the Mughal dynasty.
This royal-inspired feast easily occupies a few hours. Handpainted plates from Jaipur might feature intricate dishes like artichoke and truffle sheermal (flatbread) with quail egg kebabs, paneer and beetroot; or a kangaroo pasanda curry with parsnip, riberries, pink peppercorn, and edible silver.
Yet the stand-out main is the parindey mussallam, a meal that Raichura discovered while researching centuries-old recipes, including those translated by food historian Salma Husain. Here, egg is stuffed into quail, stuffed into chicken, stuffed into duck, all served alongside besan roti, and pickled carrots and onions.
Local wines also feature here and, if you’re really pushing the boat out, you might go for the wine pairing, which is curated by sommelier and wine educator Ben Knight.
The space reflects the food, juxtaposing artwork and serving ware sourced from both India and Australia, while the feature piece of the main dining room is a striking painting by Pintupi artist Debra McDonald Nangala. The restaurant also uses ceramics from Melbourne creative Andrei Davidoff, carved marble boxes from Agra, India, and handmade metal plates from Gujarat, where Raichura grew up.
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