23 Dec Fork and Fingers, Ascot Vale
Indian fusion is probably something you’re not too familiar with, but at Fork and Fingers that’s what they’re known for. There are two parts to the menu: one is traditional, and the other is full of contemporary Indian fusion dishes that have come about after much experimentation. Even the background music is a sort of fusion – think Western pop covers mixed with Hindi.
All their lassi, whether it’s the mango, fruit tingle, cranberry or passionfruit, are made to order. Our favourite is the Fruit Tingle, which is a mix of seasonal fruits. In fact, everything is made to order, rather than being cooked then reheated.
From the fusion menu we try the Crab Roll with thin pastry, Indian pesto and asparagus with spicy soy Bollywood masala chutney and fruit chutney. The chilli chutney is very good, but also very, very hot. The tomatoe-y flavoured fruit chutney is a very decent, and milder, alternative.
Salsy Scallops are paired with a tangy pine, kiwi, coconut and mango salsa. Sweet potato crisps are seasoned with Indian spices. The very tangy Beef Vindaloo Tacos have spoonfuls of raita and fresh cucumber and tomato, and their ever-popular Butter Chicken Lasagne sees butter chicken, basil, mushroom, tangy butter sauce, and melted three cheese layered between the sheets of pasta.
The Boti on Fire arrives with a bit of fiery flair. Pieces of Indian herbed lamb are teamed up with red wine poached pear, and a quinoa, pomegranate and tomato salad. It’s delicious.
Charred Hariyali Prawns have been marinated twice with flavours including basil, kaffir lime, and lemongrass, which gives it a lovely freshness. They’re cooked for only a short time in the tandoor, allowing them to retain their juices.
On the more traditional side of things, we try the Goat Laalmaas, a dish that originates from Rajastan and is cooked in masala with tomatoes, onion and red chilli paste. Its rich flavours go well with the crispy naan. The Garlic Naan in particular stands out, and there’s heady flavours from the garlic oil.
Their dessert section similarly contains a mix of traditional and fusion dishes. The traditional sweet kulfi is presented on a stick. Gulab Jamun Cheesecake comes with pistachios, rose water sauce and rose petal jam. The cheesecake part of the dish is to offset sweetness of traditional galub jamun, though the dessert still has quite a bit of saccharinity.
Fork and Fingers is a neat fusion of Western and Indian eating styles. Its humble decor hides an inventive menu that’s full of interesting combinations of flavours.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Fork and Fingers as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Fork and Fingers
230 Union Road
Ascot Vale, VIC, 3032
(03) 9041 2436