Winter is a time for all things hot and spicy, and with all the fragrant Indian spices packed into their menu, Hawthorn's Piquancy certainly fits the bill.
Many of Piquancy's dishes feature a teaming of ingredients that deviate from the traditional, but still manage to encapsulate the core flavours and spices that make up Indian cuisine. Hearty winter comfort indeed.
Prior to sitting down for dinner, we were treated to a quick masterclass on making the Indian classic, samosas. The number of different spices used in the samosa filling really highlighted the intricacies of Indian cooking.
Onto the best part of the evening: the eating.
Highlights of the appetisers included the pani puri and cauliflower 65. The pastry casing of the pani puri was extremely delicate, and the addition of a watery sauce added to the balanced spicy flavours of the mashed potato and chickpea filling. One of my favourite dishes of the evening was the moreish cauliflower 65 dish, comprising fluffy pieces of pan tossed cauliflower with a gentle char and a gorgeous blend of tangy sweetness from the tomato and honey sauce. For something different, the Tulsi Nimbu Fish Tikka with large pieces of Atlantic salmon topped with basil, lime, garlic and candied orange is also worth checking out.
The mains featured quite a selection of curries listed below. The curries were fragrant, sweet and intensely flavoured. Most importantly, they all ticked the box of perfect winter comfort. My pick of the curries was the anjeer ke kofte; the presence of the fig, pomegranate and cashews in the dumplings were a surprising encounter of sweetness but one that was pleasant and teamed beautifully with the curry. The garlic naan was sensationally flavoursome but in pairing it with the curries which were also flavoursome, I would have probably preferred a plain naan. The cauliflower rice was light and fluffy but it was the subtle aromas from the biryani rice that had me going back for more.
Our feast ended on an intriguing sweet note with a kulfi dessert; frozen condensed milk with herbs and spices and a strong honey presence. Seemingly at the cross roads between the boundaries of sweet and savoury, the unusual combination was strangely addictive, although a little too sweet at times. Less would have been more.
I must confess that I'm not the biggest fan of Indian cuisine, but my palate is really starting to embrace it, especially with restaurants like Piquancy that do an excellent job of selling the cuisine with their creative takes on traditional flavours and dishes.
- Pani Puri - fried puff pastry balls filled with mashed potatoes and chick peas
- Cauliflower 65 - pan tossed cauliflower with tomato and honey sauce
- Beetroot Paneer - beetroot marinated curd cheese and vegetables charred in the tandoori oven
- Tulsi Nimbu Fish Tikka - Atlantic salmon with basil, lime, garlic and candied orange
- Butter Chicken - free range chicken cooked with tomato, cardamom, fenugreek
- Lamb Kafirana - rich stew of roasted lamb, ginger, garlic, coconut cream and lime leaf
- Anjeer ke Kofte - fig, pomegranate and cashew dumpling curry
- Dal Makhani - black lentils, ginger, garlic and garam masala, slow cooked for 12 hours
- Served with garlic naan, cauliflower rice and biryani rice.
123 Auburn Rd,
Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122.
(03) 9813 5160
Disclosure: I dined as a guest of Piquancy. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit.