While Australia has plenty of good Indian restaurants, there are very few South Indian ones which serve the real deal. So one fine evening, after a day out splashing at the Mordialloc Beach, we decided to head to Marinaa, located in Hampton East and decided to put it to the test.
Marinaa serves a pan Indian cuisine with popular dishes from across India making it to the menu but there is a special focus on South Indian and Indo-Chinese cuisine.
My first thought on entering Marinaa was that this place so strongly reminds me of the restaurants in Chennai, India. Non-descript, yet so strongly South Indian….only those who have experienced the eateries of Chennai can identify with this statement.
There is not much of an ambience to speak of but a neat, tidy and well-laid out restaurant. We went in rather early for Indian dinner time standards so the place was rather quiet with only two other customers. But I am sure the weekends can get busy when it might be much more noisy with all the chitter chatter. It is also advisable to pre-book a table for the weekends especially if you are a large group.
Marinaa does not serve liquor but it is BYO for wines. Otherwise you have the usual fresh juices, soft drinks, beverages to choose from. We started off with a lemon soda, lemon lime bitter and South Indian style buttermilk (also called salt lassi). The buttermilk was nice especially on a hot, sultry evening, though I would have preferred it slightly creamier.
For starters, it was chicken tikka served with greens and mint-coriander chutney. Delicious and spicy, everything that you expect from a chicken tikka.
I was happy to see the kozhi elumbu saaru (Chettinadu style chicken soup) on the menu and had to try it out. This is a traditional dish from the Chettinadu region of Tamil Nadu which is hard to find in the menus here. The soup was spicy and flavourful but not the best I have had. Try it if you are looking for a fiery peppery kick.
For the children, we ordered ghee roast (Indian savoury crepes) with sambhar and assorted chutneys. While the sambhar did not taste good, the chutneys were good and overall, made a good meal.
For mains, we had Naan breads, Karaikudi lamb curry, Madras fish curry and combination fried rice. The curries were flavourful and delicious but again, not the best I have eaten. The fried rice was typically Indo-Chinese so if you are missing that taste of home, then this would be a good try.
Instead of dessert, I ended the meal with curd rice…soft, creamy and cooling. It is a joy to see familiar dishes on the menu so the curd rice was a very welcome part of the meal. Again not the best in terms of taste, but definitely not unhappy.
I would visit Marinaa again in spite of its limited menu as there were a few dishes that stood out while the rest were ordinary. My pick from the day was the Madras fish curry and chicken tikka. Next time, would try out more starters though.
My rating – 7/10
922 – 924 Nepean Hwy, Hampton East
PICK-UP / DINE IN
Sunday – 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Wednesday – 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Thursday – 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Friday – 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Saturday – 6:00pm – 9:30pm
(Restricted to certain regions; check website for further details)
Sunday – 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Wednesday – 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Thursday – 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Friday – 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturday – 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post; all the items were paid for by myself.