When deciding where to have my birthday meal in Toowoomba, we noticed that the choices were pretty much limited to pub food, Thai or Indian. Since we just had Thai for Mochi's birthday, I opted for Indian.
There was a night, a couple of weeks back, when we tried to eat at Chutney Mary but found that they were closed from flood damage. A couple of my work mates told me it was back up and running so I thought 'SWEET, lets give them a shot'.
The restaurant was completely empty when we went in, granted it was very early on a weeknight. The interior was not unpleasant. I was expecting plastic chairs and a bright-colored takeaway store vibe but it had the usual Indian decor thang going. Plus a flat screen TV showing Bollywood clips.
After being seated, we perused the menu and started comparing whether it was better to get a banquet or order separately. Banquets used to be the be all end all of special occasion ordering but now we're finding that it's more fun, and equally as feast-like if we order exactly what we want.
We chose a curry each and as Birthday Girl, I got an extra pick. It didn't occur to us that 4 curries between 3 people might be too much, after all, we had Byron on the team.
It didn't take long for the curries to start arriving. Our table was small, which was bad in that every time a plate came, we had to rearrange all the cups to make room. At the same time, it was kinda good because it made our table seem very crowded and happenin'.
Mochi and I got some plain naan and wholemeal paratha to accompany our meal. After analyzing the difference, it seems that naan is flufflier and more buttery wheras the paratha is flat with a rougher texture (probably because it's wholemeal). I quite liked both.
Lamb korma is one of our must-orders and it was PERECT. Mochi asked 'what is korma supposed to taste like?'... Well, this is a difficult question to answer because everywhere we go, there's a different version. My idea of a good korma is that it's creamy, thick, nutty and sweet. Byron reackons that korma is a curry that isn't supposed to have curry in it but this one did. Not sure if that disqualifies it from anything but it definitely fit my bill in terms of taste and awesomeness.
The palak paneer came around the same time. On its own, I thought it was bland and uninteresting. I hate to say it but it tasted a bit like packet paneer (the kind you get from a cardboard box and then microwave). I would have liked bigger/more abundant cheese chunks. When combined with the korma, however, it was fine. Then again, maybe anything combined with the korma would have been delicious.
I ordered the goat masala because it is a Chutney Mary house special. I liked that it was different to most Indian curries I've tried. Mochi hit the nail on the head when she described it was 'tomatoey'. It was indeed very tomatoey with lots of spices. The curry wasn't creamy and the goat chunks had bone... both these factors put me to mind of South-East Asian curry. I did like it though and the serving was enormous. This alone is unusual for an Indian restaurant, where curry portions tend to be miniscule.
Our final curry was the crowd favorite, butter chicken. It was a special butter chicken - I liked that the chicken had a distinct char-grilled tandoori flavor. I didn't like that the sauce was watery. Not even just a bit watery... way too watery. It was a shame because the actual flavor in the sauce was good.
Chutney Mary did well for my birthday feast. The small table forced our dishes to be crowded which leant to a very feast-like feel. We were happy with our choice, in particular the lamb korma. I had some goat curry and naan left over and the next day, had that reheated and the naan toasted. It was even better the next day!