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There’s more to Indian food than butter chicken, especially at Piquancy, which opened on Auburn Road last month. Owned by the folk behind Babu Ji in St Kilda, this 50-seater has an ambience that can err on the side of hushed until tables fill. Cushioned banquettes line one side of the narrow room, and you can almost see the moustache-twirling, turbaned babu ji (grandfather) smiling from the opposite wall.
The menu is mostly gluten-free, whether it be perfectly charred tandoor prawns (I ate them whole) or beetroot-marinated paneer. Mop up comforting dal makhani (black lentils cooked for 12 hours with ginger, garlic and garam masala) with gluten-free quinoa, psyllium husk, and chickpea and lentil flour naan. As for the butter chicken, it’s free range here and goes down a treat with one of 40 craft beers from the help-yourself fridge.
Desserts make a nice change from chocolate and salted caramel, perhaps syrupy gulab jamun doughnuts decorated with silver or ras malai, cheesecake dumplings in saffron-laced cardamom milk.
Hot tip Piquancy also offers Indian breakfast, lunch and $28 all-you-can-eat curries and rice on Sunday nights.
- 123 Auburn Road, Hawthorn
- 9813 5160
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