Piquancy is the more reserved sibling of St Kilda’s Babu Ji. In most other ways, it’s the same sort of place.
A large, turban-clad, impressively moustachioed man watches over the space. Like Babu Ji.
There’s a GYO (grab your own) fridge containing 40 beers, including 4 Pines pale ale, Stone & Wood Pacific and trusty Kingfisher lager. You can order a beer, but it’s more fun to hop up and grab one yourself. Like Babu Ji.
The food is looks pretty and tastes light and crisp as often as it does rich and aromatic. Like Babu Ji.
Start with panipuri – golf-ball-sized puff-pastry shells, half-filled with mashed potato and chickpea. They come with a little flask of herby, salsa verde-like liquid. Pour a little into the opening atop each ball and pop it in your mouth for a crunchy, creamy, herbaceous snack.
Other dishes in this novel section (“from the street”) include cauliflower florets sweetened with tomato, honey and the barest hint of chilli; paneer cheese stained with beetroot and charred in the tandoor; and an unusual lamb “kebab” that’s actually mince formed into a neat little cylinder.
More familiar dishes such as butter chicken and goat curry appear in “from the pot”. But they’re backed by fig, pomegranate and cashew-dumpling curry; and a black lentil stew jacked with garlic, ginger and garam masala and simmered for 12 hours.
Ninety per cent of the menu is gluten-free. That includes the naan, made with psyllium husk, plus quinoa, chickpea, lentil and corn flours