Bonfire Cafe (Springvale) – a Review

Bonfire Cafe (Springvale) – a Review -

A visit to this restaurant has been on the cards for a long time as one of our friends had been there and suggested it’s a good place to try North Indian and Pakistani cuisine.

The Bonfire Restaurant (the café in the title is a misnomer!) is located in Springvale and is a rather small place nestled among many other Indian, Asian and fast food joints. The place is more famous for takeaways rather than dine-in due to the small space and not so appealing service. The food leans more heavily towards Pakistani style of cooking which is rather similar to the cuisine of old Delhi and parts of Punjab and North Frontier.


We arrived there around 8.00pm on a Saturday evening and the place was only half full. Since it’s mostly a takeaway joint, you are likely to find place even on weekends but if you are part of a large group, I totally recommend calling ahead of time as the place can get really cramped, even with a few diners.

Though I have read mixed reviews about this place on Zomato, I kept an open mind and not get influenced by what I have read. The menu was refreshingly different and did not offer the same kind of dishes that are offered by most Indian restaurants. Like I said, this was because the menu leaned towards the Pakistani style of cooking; so that expectations were really high as I know that Pakistani cuisine is an incredibly delicious one, rich and packed with flavour.


Since there were very few diners, we got seated fairly quickly and the menus were bought out. There was a good variety of dishes across all categories and I liked the fact that each dish carries a little note about the origin or history of the dish along with a description of the actual dish. This can be really helpful for those who do not understand the traditional names and can get confused on what to order.

For starters, we got the Chapli Kebabs which is a specialty of the region; lamb mince kebabs flavoured with coriander and dry pomegranate seeds. The kebabs were served with a mint raita and sliced cucumbers. Absolutely delicious and a must try…unanimously voted as the best dish of the day by all of us. There is a strong coriander flavour just as the description mentioned but it was beautiful and not too hot.

Chapli Kebabs
Chapli Kebabs
Mint raita and cucumber salad
Mint raita and cucumber salad

We also got a piece of Chicken tikka for the non-lamb eater in the group. Unlike many other restaurants where tikka is served as skewers, here you get a quarter piece of chicken marinated with a flavourful tikka sauce and a generous squeeze of lemon. Well cooked, not too dry with good flavours.

Chicken Tikka
Chicken Tikka

Next, we ordered some flatbreads/Naan along with a vegetarian and non-vegetarian side. For vegetarian, we chose the Paneer Jalfarezi and Beef Nihari for the non-vegetarian option. The flatbreads were a bit dry to my liking but not too hard. A bit of butter would have helped. The Paneer Jalfarezi was delicious and mopped up in no time at all. It is an excellent choice for vegetarians and also for anyone who is looking for a less spicy dish.

Paneer Jalfarezi
Paneer Jalfarezi

Though I have heard plenty about Nihari (a traditional dish dating from the 18th century Mughal cuisine and now considered to be the national dish of Pakistan), this is my first time actually experiencing the dish. Since I have no prior experience, I won’t claim it to be authentic etc…simply because I do not know. But what I do know is that it was delicious with the most tender and succulent pieces of beef I have ever eaten. The only complaint was that there were very few beef pieces and plenty of gravy. But nevertheless, a good dish.

Beef Nihari
Beef Nihari

The final dish was the lamb biryani. Of course you have to sample the biryani when out at an Indian restaurant and this one didn’t disappoint. The Pakistani style of biryani is much lighter than the typical Indian version; it is more flavourful but less spicy. And this makes it perfect as it does not fill you up completely allowing room for other dishes to be sampled. I wouldn’t say this was a great biryani; average but not disappointing.

Lamb Biryani
Lamb Biryani

If there’s anything to fault with this place, it’s the service. There’s none to speak of……

My rating – 7.5/10 (just because the food is good). So if you live nearby, a takeaway would be ideal if you do not wish to experience the non-existent service. For others, if a good meal counts over the service, then you will want to give it a go.

Bonfire Cafe

Shop 1
27-31 Springvale Road,

Phone no: (03) 9546 8445


Open 7 days – 12.00pm to 12.00am
Breakfast available – Saturday and Sunday (8.00am to 1.00pm)

Click to add a blog post for BonFire Cafe on Zomato

Disclaimer – All the food and drinks were paid for by me!

11 thoughts on “Bonfire Cafe (Springvale) – a Review

  1. Hey, we had been here a week back and loved the food. Service was too slow, we waited for almost 45 mins to get anything on our table. And dear, the indian version of chicken tikka is called chicken tikka boti on their menu. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, I know…though we didnt order that. We ordered what is called chicken tikka and it is this quarter chicken. I wrote that for the non Indians who know of only one chicken tikka. Thanks for the feedback… you do Zomato reviews?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to see a Pakistani restaurant in Melbourne.. As far as I know a nihari has more gravy and less meat. I had the same experience when I was in the Middle East for some time.. But the gravy there had a nice bright red colour. This one seemed a bit milder, perhaps to suit the suit the Aussie palette i reckon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are plenty of Pakistani restaurants here though this is my first good experience. I am not sure of the colour but the flavours were not mild at all coz this is definitely not a place that caters to the Aussie crowd. Its more a place for the migrants and maybe a handful of Aussies who really know the food. But like I said, never had a Nihari before so no standard to measure it upto.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dubai has such amazing places….where is Ravi restaurant situated? I remember a place called Pak Ghazi…..spent a childhood eating the mutton chops there. Just divine stuff!


      2. Its at Al Karama… Its a no frills place, so you actually eat the real thing… Pak Gazi is the one at Sharjah if im not mistaken

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.