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While Indian cuisine has had a long and colourful history in Fiji, it is not often that we can experience it in Canberra. Yet if you’re looking for something more inspiring than bain-marie curries and soggy pappadums, Rama’s is the restaurant you’ve been looking for. A quietly guarded secret by locals in the know, Rama’s has been serving up generous amounts of Fijian hospitality and delicious food for years. The decor is quite elegant, considering Rama’s homely appeal, while the dishes remain true to the Indian comfort food palate. Mini Gaundar runs a tight ship here, but her hospitality knows no limits.
Just like the hospitality, the meals are warm and comforting. Start with some delicious pakoras (available in vegetarian, fish or prawn) made with a beautifully spiced lentil flour batter, and deep-fried for just the right amount of time. The portions are generous, and the fish has an especially piquant marinate of garlic and turmeric. Or try the beef samosas; delicately flavoured mince and peas in a rich gravy. The dhal soup also makes an excellent entree, or accompaniment to the main course, cooked makhani-style with tomatoes, onions and fresh coriander. For mains, the usual line-up of curries is available, from rogan josh to Bombay, vindaloo and Madras. Standouts include the lamb saag – a creamy curry made with spinach – or beef dhansak, another creamy curry which tempers its richness with hints of garam masala, kaffir lime and fresh coriander flavours. However, the house specials are where Rama’s truly shines! Tastes of home include the famous aamm chicken where tender chicken pieces are cooked in a sweet mango sauce, or the Fijian pork curry, where the pork is combined with a flavoursome sauce of capsicum, onion and coriander. Finish off with some mango and almond kulfi (ice-cream) or gulab jamun (sweet dumplings).
Russell Buzby, May 2009