date of visit: Monday 17 September 2012
Heading out after ‘work’ (which, in this case, was a Pinot Noir tasting) for a meal and movie is not something that happens too often. I have a tendency to fall asleep in the cinema (I have been doing this for years – it’s because it’s warm and dark) and have you seen the price of a movie ticket? I’d rather just eat dinner!
However, I’d been given some movie tickets, Kath and Kimderella was showing and it was time to do something noice, different and unusual. Andy was not interested (surprise) so a friend and I left our other halves at home with toddlers and headed out with a couple of hours to spare to eat before the film.
The Parade is a bit weird in that it’s one of those places that seems to have tons of restaurants/eateries but, when I think about it, there’s not that many places I’m desperate to try. We’d both done Grace and I’m always keen to try somewhere new. I asked Twitter and, being a Monday night, our choices were a bit limited, so we ended up at Hazara.
Hazara bills itself as an Indian and Singaporean restaurant but we were both there for curry – and, honestly, Singaporean dishes are few and far between on the menu.
We began with pappadums and shared vegetable samosas, which we followed with Hazara chicken curry (me – I figured this was the house specialty*) and rogan josh (my mate). The Hazara chicken curry is described vaguely as being cooked in “a flavoursome gravy with freshly ground spices”. That could pretty much describe a random mid-week curry by me.
I’d describe all the food as above average. The samosas were definitely good – if I wanted to be picky I’d complain that the pastry was a little thick, but it certainly wasn’t stodgy or pasty.
The main courses were very good. The lamb was really tender and had obviously had a long, slow cook. The chicken was still moist. While the sauces were tasty you could argue they were a little homogenous in texture. We ordered some coconut rice and dahl makhani to go with our main courses. Dahl makhani is one of my favourite things to eat so I’m quite picky about it. This dahl makhani was made exclusively with black lentils which is definitely a good thing – some have kidney beans which I don’t rate at all. It wasn’t as spicy as it could have been but I also appreciate the need to keep accompaniments more universally appealing.
At some points service was a little intrusive. If, as a waiter, you’re going to apologise for interrupting (to ask if the food is OK) then don’t interrupt. It was a Monday night and the restaurant was nearly empty so the waiting staff weren’t pushed for time – they could have waited. I guess had they done that I’d be complaining they asked me when my mouth was full …
The real sting in the tail at Hazara is the cost. Our dinner, including an alcoholic drink each and a small tip, came to $40 a head. Whichever way I look at it, that’s quite a lot of money for a curry. I feel like I am always saying this about curries – but they are something that is easy to cook well, and in bulk, at home.
While I’d definitely go back to Hazara, I would also be mindful of the cost. In a group, or if I were hungry – I’d expect to spend $50 a head easily. You have to chalk some of that money up to a pleasant environment and friendly, efficient service.
* Hazara is both a place in Pakistan and a Persian speaking people of Afghanistan (the third largest ethnic group after Pasthuns and Tajiks) and central Pakistan. I have no idea whether the name of the restaurant (and this dish) refers to either of these or something else.