date of visit: Sunday 22 February 2014
Part of our grand plan when we headed to the Unley Ignite craft beer afternoon was to head out for an early dinner.
We are still at the point in the toddler’s life where an ‘early dinner’ means we sit down at 5:30pm (bed time is 7pm – he gets a bit of leeway if we go out!) and this generally limits our choice of venues. Many pubs don’t start serving dinner until 6pm which is just a bit late (especially if there’s a bit of travel involved) and generally I am thrown into some state of indecision – poring over the Entertainment Book, UrbanSpoon and blog reviews of restaurants. It’s ridiculous.
Fortunately, with Ignite being held on Unley Road there were plenty of options and we decided to wing it. One great thing about dining out at 5:30pm is that you do not need to worry about reservations!
As the natural accompaniment to beer is curry, we found ourselves headed to The Snake Charmer on Unley Road. It opens at 5:30pm and we were, literally, the first people through the door.
The interior decoration is quite dark and striking: bare brick walls and gold and black upholstery and certainly a lot smarter than I was expecting. We were greeted warmly, seated and we were so early we were given the Early Bird menu. If you arrive at opening and you can vacate your table by 7:15 pm then a cut down version of the menu sees entrées costing just $5.90 and main courses $9.90.
I duly asked the toddler what he wanted to eat to which he announced “BEEF!”. The beef options on the take away menu all fall into the ‘really spicy’ category (even I’m not stupid enough to feed vindaloo to a three year old!) so I chose the beef madras, Andy the rogan josh and our friend, Simon, the lamb saag. We also ordered entrées: onion bhaji for Andy, pakoras for me and samosas for the third party. To go with our main courses we ordered naan bread and rice. And, to start, we ‘shared’ pappadums (where ‘shared’ means that the toddler took possession of most of them).
Our entrées arrived quickly (no doubt helped by the encouragement from the toddler …. “where’s my fooooood?”). Andy’s onion bhaji arrived as individual onion rings (rather than clumped together patties) and they were very much enjoyed by his side of the table. My pakoras were excellent and the samosas seemed to go down well too. The entrées all scored big ticks and were very prettily presented.
It is, of course, very hard to make a curry look pretty … Our main courses arrived, the toddler took one look at what was on the table and announced that the rogan josh was his (a relief for me with my beef curry!). Poor Andy would have enjoyed his curry had he been allowed to eat more of it! Fortunately, Simon also shared some lamb saag with both Andy and a starving small child. My beef madras was suitably spicy. I think my one criticism would be that each curry was bulked out by at least one piece of potato.
Fortunately for us, the toddler refuses to eat bread, so we all got to try some naan and Simon, being a very hungry sort, was able to finish off any left over gravy.
Of course, on an early bird menu, the dinner was super cheap (even with beers it came to under $30 a head) so it definitely represented sensational value. On top of this the food was good and the service was friendly and efficient.
A definite thumbs up!
The Snake Charmer
60 Unley Road
Unley SA 5061
phone: 08 8272 2624