Some of our hottest meals are deeply rooted in the most whimsical decisions … so it is tonight.

Turn left at the end of the street – that means Spotswood, Newport, Williamstown, Altona.

It’s as we’re tooling along Williamstown Road, vague notions of pizza fomenting in our minds, that inspiration strikes.

Friday night! Searz!

Searz Caffi

  • Address: 39 Challis Street, Newport
  • Phone: 9399 2393

 

We’ve been to this Newport cafe before, but since then a friend has keenly recommended the joint’s Friday Indian-style specials.

We enjoyed our earlier visit, but so terrific is what we have during our second that we decide there is no better cafe in the west – and we are left with a serious case of dead-set envy because it’s not in OUR neighbourhood.

Curry special. Photo: Kenny Weir

Curry special. Photo: Kenny Weir

A big part of Searz’s appeal, for us anyway, is its Asian outlook. So many other cafes – across the west, across Melbourne – seem like dilettantes when it comes to incorporating Asian influences and dishes into their menus.

Sometimes the food is enjoyable – but without ever quite nailing that funky spicy factor. There’s no such problems at Searz – a wide range of deftly handled Asian dishes and flavours are on hand and Asian-ness is the very beating heart of the place.

Take Bennie’s Thai beef salad ($14) … we watch this being constructed, so we know exactly what’s in it and how it was done.

It’s very good and, in terms of quality, portion size and pure yumminess, leaves most equivalent dishes at your average Thai eateries way behind. I try a piece of the beef and am very impressed – it’s tender, charry, wonderful.

But his salad is definitely aced by my Friday night curry special ($20). The mix of biryani rice, chicken curry, dal with veg, fried hard-boiled egg and apple/mango chutney is simply fabulous. And while it looks a little light on for the price tag, that proves not to be the case.

Best of all, every component displays evidence of loving preparation and determination to produce a range of individual flavours.

The boneless chicken is more South-East Asian than Indian, but superb with its salty, smoky seasoning. All the rest is every bit as interesting and delicious.

Now we decide to indulge in dessert. There’s two on the blackboard – we order both.

Banana nutella tart with banana fritter and chocolate mousse; and peach and raspberry croustade with creme fraiche ice-cream and peach/rum coulis are both sublime.

These are the sorts of sweet treats we would normally only expect in more formal – and expensive – settings. The price? $8 each. So cheap, it’s bonkers!

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