Indian Palace is located in Brighton along Church Street. It doesn't quite look like your traditional Indian restaurant, with white linen and chairs and a cleaner more modern looks rather than traditional colourful Indian flare. It feels a strange mish-mash and I'm still undecided whether I like it or not. The opened double doors means the interior and exterior seating merge and the nice warm Spring breeze wafts in a little. It's still a touch hot and could use some extra air conditioning.
We are seated by a neatly dressed waiter in black. All the waiters look very smart in their all black attire. We get our white wine opened, although since it hasn't been chilled, the warm taste ruins it. Only after pouring out 4 huge glasses of wine does the waiter chill the bottle.
We flick through the menu and after deciding not to go with the banquet, we order entrees and mains to share. The first entree of calamari with a note that you get six on the menu was a plate of large rolls of calamari with some herbs. A drizzle of lemon and we tried it. It wasn't really that good, a tad tough and not exactly full of flavour.
The Chicken Mince Kebab faired a bit better. It had some flavour but required a more charred taste I think.
For mains we got Butter Chicken (my usual Indian dish that I must have), Lamb Pasanda, Beef Vindaloo and Yellow Dal. The food came out faster than a Hungry Jack's burger. Within a minute of receiving the entrees (which only took a few minutes), the mains, naan and rice had all arrived. Usually food coming out fast is a good thing, but this fast meant that we didn't even have time to sip our wines yet. Also, you would have to doubt how freshly cooked the food was if it was so fast.
The butter chicken contained moist pieces of chicken and I liked how it wasn't too sweet. The Lamb Pasanda was quite good, with a mild taste and again, tender lamb. The beef vindaloo was extremely hot and therefore lost some of the flavours I think. The yellow dal contained whole lentils still but they were very soft so was quite good.
Desserts were not good at all. The Gulab Jamun tasted really bad, with some really strong smell dominating the balls. The vanilla ice cream was flavourless.
The Surprise Dessert, which they wouldn't tell us what it was when asked, turned out to be a pudding with butterscotch sauce. Texture wise the pudding was nice, and the butterscotch sauce was good, but the pudding contained too much nutmeg or something and was too strong. The trio of Ice Creams contained Choc Mint, Mango and Vanilla, all of which were truly awful.
The meal was fairly good value, coming in at $30 each. The service was professional and efficient. The ambience was ok, with the opened doors making the whole room fell slightly outdoors being quite nice. Food wise, some dishes were ok, but we almost felt rushed with how quick the food arrived. I guess if you're in a hurry it's good.
Overall Rating: 12/20, Some good Indian dishes with good service.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.