• Chapati (Carlton)

The hippest new Indian restaurant in Carlton, Chapati serves authentic food with fun flare. AJ opened Chapati only eleven months ago, and it is already soaring into popularity with its authentic and beautifully presented dishes in a vibrant atmosphere.

I was invited to try Chapati via Payo – the latest must-have foodie app, which allows you to eat now, pay later.

Stepping into Chapati feels like I’m back-packing around the sub-continent, (only the floors are much cleaner, and the food is much tastier than anything one would find on a tourist route). The holiday vibe is in the murals. All painted by the owner’s friend, Damien, using vibrant colours, Indian motifs and bold illustrations. I had thought the colours would be over-powering, but with lots of natural light through the front window, and the neutral floor, the pictures are balanced with a calm neutrality.

Similar effort is also put into the dishes, glasses, cutlery and lights. It is a feast for the eyes, in every sense.

I love that the menu includes so many street food faves. But still, we could not go past the usual samosa…only this was no usual samosa. The crisp pastry was filled with spiced potatoes, peas and chickpeas and then drenched in a tamarind sauce.  I was impressed that the pastry could remain crisp when drowned in the sauce. The sauce is the best part of a samosa, so why not fill the dish with it!

Vegetarian mains feature first in the menu. We ordered the Baingan Bharta and the Aloo Gobhi.
The Baingan Bharta was predominantly smoky eggplant, smashed and sauced with a rich curry. A slight crunch of onions and a kick of spices, added a delightful interest. It was sweet but also spicy, and with a hint of chilli and ginger.

The Aloo Gobhi was perfectly with the cauliflower and potato cooked but not too soft. This was less spicy that the eggplant. Wedges of tomato were hidden throughout. 

I appreciated that the different dishes held a unique variety of spices between them.

The naan was toastie, hot and fresh.

The traditional gulab jamun is house made. Care had been taken to render a spongey texture, and subtle flavours. Upon first mouthful, I was struck by the buttery texture. All the syrup was absorbed by the golden dumplings, so it was dessert without being overly sweet. 

Paying with the Payo app was easy. Just select the restaurant, add the payment amount, and then pay for the whole meal over four easy instalments. You can download Payo here and get $10 towards your meal with my discount code: 8HK40W

I definitely want to return to Chapati. With so many vegetarian street food snacks, entrees and mains, it will take me a while to get through the whole menu.

This is fancier than your cheap and cheerful take-away, but still relaxed enough for kids, and AJ greets all customers as if they are friends. The restaurant itself is predominantly run by the mother/son duo.

There is also a private function room upstairs.

Bookings are recommended.

401 Rathdowne Street
Carlton 3053
03 9348 4685

Opening hours:
Daily 12:00pm to 4:00pm and 5:00pm to 10:00pm