04 May Elephant Corridor, Glen Waverley
In the bustling area around Glen Waverley station, one may never run out of ideas on what to eat. Restaurants are aplenty, and one of these is Elephant Corridor, adding authentic Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine to the mix. Thursday night is chilli mud crab night, which tends to draw in Malaysians and Singaporeans, and Sunday and Monday is hopper night, where the thin, crepe-like bowl-shaped pancakes are served to the masses.
We start with complementary mint and tamarind chutney to go with fennel and cumin seed papadums, so light and crispy that they whet our appetites but don’t spoil it. The Mango Lassi is thick and cooling, and the SLK style freshly squeezed lime juice is obviously tart, but a shot glass of sugar syrup allows us to tweak it to our desired level of sweetness. We also try a cocktail – the ‘Old Fashioned Ceylonese’, one of their signature cocktails. Using Arrack as the base, the cocktail includes include nutmeg, cinnamon and bitters. Arrack is a spirit produced in India, Sri Lanka, Java and the Philippines from toddy (the fermented sap coconut palm trees). Elephant Corridor also stocks authentic Indian and Sri Lankan beers to complete the culinary experience.
We begin with a few dishes from the starter menu. Cylindrical Seekh Kebabs are made with lamb mince, blended with a special blend of masala and served with mint chutney after being cooked in the tandoor. At first glance the Chicken Tikka looks like it will be dry, but it most definitely isn’t. The boneless chicken pieces are still juicy, and its yoghurt and spice marinade is tasty. The Sri Lankan style Salt n’ Pepper Calamari is fried with garlic, green onions, chillies and a blend of Ceylon spices. The large pieces of battered calamari are cooked to perfection, and there’s a decent dose of chilli flakes sprinkled on top, giving it a moreish kick.
We journey to North India, where the food is creamier and less spicy. Palak Paneer is a vegetarian dish with a delicious sauce based on spinach and light spices, and cooked with spongey paneer cheese, which is almost like tofu. Chicken Makhani, or Butter Chicken, arrives in a copper bucket. The chicken is first cooked in a clay oven, before being simmered in a rich tomato-based sauce and cashew nuts then finally finished with butter & cream. The chicken is juicy and flavourful and there’s a slight tanginess to the sauce.
The Lamb Biryani is delicious. Full of lamb and flavoured with spices, crispy onions and nuts, I struggle to resist urges to eat more.
Some flatbreads arrive to go along with the dishes. Keema Naan is filled with a delicious blend of spicy lamb mince and coriander. It’s warm and comforting. Both the paratha, which is made from wholemeal flour, and the slightly sweeter plain naan have crispy exteriors and slightly fluffy insides perfect for mopping up sauces.
Our food adventure then takes us southwards to Sri Lanka. The Red Prawn (Rathu Isso) Curry is made from onions, spices, red chilli and curry leaves. It’s a more delicate curry and one can truly taste the flavour of prawns in the curry sauce. String Hoppers (Idi Appam) – fine rice noodles made with either white or red rice and steamed into pancake shapes – are perfect with curry. Pol Sambol is used as an accompaniment and is particularly good with the hoppers. Not to be mistaken for sambal the chilli paste, pol sambol is instead based on coconut and chilli, this version also including Maldive Fish, a cured tuna product. When eaten with the curries the pol sambol adds freshness and an extra dimension of flavour and texture.
Kothu-roti is a common street food in Sri Lanka, where strips of roti are stir-fried in a wok with various ingredients. This version includes chicken, onion, capsicum, tomato, lemongrass and strips of omelette and a little dish of curry comes on the side. One of my favourite things to eat for breakfast when I visit Malaysia is roti canai, and the kothu-roti reminds me so much of my beloved morning meal. The dish is slighty spicy and so tasty. Occasional bits of charred roti bring much delight.
Sri Lankan Devilled Beef is apparently a common dish to eat together with drinks. The tender beef is marinated, then fried with onion, capsicum, tomato and a spicy sauce, and is packed full of flavour.
It’s time for dessert, and we try two. There’s the icy Kulfi Pista, an Indian ice cream made with pistachios, and the spectacular Wattalapan – a Sri Lankan coconut custard pudding with palm candy and nuts stirred throughout, and an impressive spun sugar construction topping it off.
We end with an Arrack flight, which includes three different varieties: V.S.O.A., Double Distilled and Old Reserve. The Double Distilled is smoother than V.S.O.A, but the Old Reserve the easiest to drink.
Our meal at Elephant Corridor was most enjoyable. The portions are generous and the food is good, particularly the curries, which are beautifully flavoured. Definitely worth a visit.
Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest to Elephant Corridor, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way
179 Coleman Parade
Glen Waverley, VIC, 3150
(03) 9561 8810