Anyone who knows me will know that over the last three years I have developed a gigantic love for Indian food. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that I live in a suburb in London with the most fantastic authentic Indian restaurants or because everyone in my household knows how to cook a good curry. It’s the spices – one taste of a good curry and I believe that there’s no going back.
So to my delight, the restaurant on the agenda for one evening meal in Perth this week was Annalakshmi on the Swan River. We arrived, a group of 14 of us and were seated outside on the balcony overlooking the beautiful Swan River. The concept of Annalakshmi was what drew us – an Indian buffet and when you’ve eaten as much as you possibly want/can fit in your belly, you simply pay what you think the meal was worth or what you can afford. Wow!
Annalakshmi is run by a crew of loyal volunteers, one woman who has been working there for over 20 years and was founded by a Hindu Monk. The first restaurant was founded in Malaysia and then brought over to Perth. The money that you pay for food is donated to charity and is used to help the underprivileged in India via The Temple of Service, providing free food and medical services.
The food itself is no frills homecooked Indian food. Honest and simple but honestly delicious. The day we went there had unfrotunatley been a death in the family of one of the volunteers so there was slightly less food than usual but when it’s a buffet, a three options is all you really need.
Like restaurants in India (and the authentic ones in England), food is served on a metal round plate with a small metal dish for the sambar, a staple in South Indian food. It is traditionally eaten with Rice, Dosas and Idliy – altough it can be eaten with anything.
On offer on the evening were two different types of Boiled Rice, a Split Yellow Pea Daal, Potato Curry, Butternut Squash Curry, Sambar and Spiced White Cabbage. I didn’t pile my plate too high because I was told that as soon as one curry runs out, another different dish is brought up from the kitchen. My first plate was demolished extremely quickly and despite there being a long line at the buffet, I queued up for more.
My favourites were definitely the Daal and the Butternut Squash curry, although I think it had just a tad too much salt in it. Didn’t stop me from completely clearing my plate for the second time though.
One of our party got into a semi argument with ‘a regular’ because he was moaning about having to queue and the member of our party was sticking up for the volunteers at the restuarant who do such as fantastic job to provide the public with utterly delicous authentic South Indian Curry.
As a thank you, the woman who had been there for over 20 years thanked our party member and gave him a free pudding gift of Lassi, which is a Punjabi yogurt-based drink of India and Pakistan. She had never seen the ‘regular’ before. We couldn’t believe that someone could be so rude about having to queue for 10 minutes.
We all stuffed ourselves until we couldn’t fit anymore in and left donating a suitable amount for each person. I’m not going to tell you how much we paid because you’re supposed to make up your own mind but it was fun deciding!!
I just love the concept and will be visiting a similar restaurant when I go to Melbourne next week – it’s not curry so let’s just hope that it is as good.
Jetty No 4
Perth, WA 6000