The idea of an all you can eat Indian buffet may be quite enticing to a well-rounded smorgasbord enthusiast like myself. The fact that it is lunch time and you only have an hour (if that?) to sample to your satisfaction may not be so enticing. Reddy’s Kitchen as it is now known runs a buffet lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. While the idea is great, and of what food I tasted, was decent, there was lack of quantity in the dishes and their rate of replenishment. Many a bain marie dish was left empty for long periods. Having said this the however, the variety was abundant if you counted the empty dishes too. There were plenty of unnamed dishes, so I’m going to call it like I see it – Butter Chicken, Chicken Masala Curry, Beef Curry, Some other chicken dish with just remnants and gravy, Deep Fried Chicken and on the vegetarian side mixed Veg in Butter Chicken Sauce (Makhani), Eggplant Curry, Daal, Dry Veg Bhaji of some sort, Semolina - South Indian Style (Upma), Rotis (Deep Fried and Grilled), Rice, Biryani and Poppadums. A simple name tag above the dish would have clarified things. I was also very surprised to see a savoury Lassi on offer too.
The staff (3-4) were quite busy at all times, as they were still running their a la carte menu. This was obviously why the bain maries were barren. When you are on a limited lunch break you want food quickly as you don’t have time to waste. My biggest gripe was the plastic (disposable) dining plate, cup and cutlery that just make you feel you were somewhere cheap. Regardless of what I pay for a dine in lunch I would still expect that it was on a china plate or even melamine to say the least.
The restaurant looks like it is in the middle of renovations all the time. Almost like they were about to change the poster of the previous restaurant’s name (Goldan Fork and Bismi before that) on it, but forgot halfway amidst peeling the sticker off. The walls are dark and ugly and the buffet is set up in the same walkway as queuing customers. The Plasma screen playing Bollywood music is positioned in view of only a few patrons and directly in front of the food. Worst of all, when you get up to get more food you will probably lose your seat as I did…twice!!!
Definitely a lot of remodelling needed. A fresh coat of paint and some more lighting is definitely on the cards. An update to the interior signage and restructuring of the seating arrangements and the buffet location would not hurt either. Reddy’s Kitchen is halfway there with more than decent food well worth a taste. At $11.90 it is one of the cheapest buffets in Melbourne. I would go as far as saying if they invest a little more into the cosmetics of the shop they could even get away with a $15 a head charge because the food is GOOD.
Reddy’s Kitchen is right on par when it comes to taste, with other curry outlets in the city but perhaps being on the far end of Elizabeth Street the owners feel they need not worry about looks. The foot traffic is still good and the dining seats were quite filled when I was there. A few changes would definitely boost their patronage and put them up there as a “don’t miss” curry joint.