Bhang, if you’re unfamiliar with cannabis products, is the traditional Hindu festival food whose main ingredient is decidedly mind-altering. While Victoria’s political stance on the use of medical marijuana is evolving, she is not so progressive that she condones cannabis use via lassi.
Nonetheless, there’s some good stuff on the menu at Bhang, a new regional Indian restaurant from the team behind Tom Phat in Brunswick.
To assemble his menu, chef and co-owner Dougal Colam draws inspiration from a youth spent eating Britain’s national (read: Indian) cuisine, as well as his travels through Goa, Kerala and Mangalore with his business partner and former wife, Sway Quach.
Bhang’s flavors are lighter and brighter than those regularly found in your standard North Indian takeaways.
The eye fillet is marinated in sweet-smoky jaggery sugar, tamarind and black cumin; the stuffed eggplant is grilled in a charcoal oven and leans heavily on the coconut.
The trout is also roasted in the oven with a dusting of Kashmiri chili, while the gobhi korma is seasoned with yoghurt and honey.
Housed in a warehouse (and former funeral home), Bhang is as much a bar as it is a restaurant.
A selection of rotis (the Indian equivalent of street tacos) topped with lamb keema or paneer of green chutney, pairs well with a pint of Hawkers IPA.
The wines come mainly from small producers, like a Pet Nat from Brunswick’s Noisy Ritual or the cultish Gamay from Pennyweight.
The cocktails are all Indian-inspired, pairing gin with cumin, cinnamon, lemon and chai spices, or chilli vodka with ginger liqueur and Darjeeling tea for a legal buzz.
Open Tue-Sun 5pm-late.
Shop 1, 2a Mitchell Street, Brunswick, 03 9382 2488, eatdrinkbhang.com