Consider the Sauce: Surprises at Ethnic India in Hoppers Crossing

Ethnic India is located on the Golden Mile at Hoppers Crossing, in one of the light industrial-commercial precincts that are offshoots of it.

When Bennie and I arrive for our Sunday lunch, I get a surprise.

I’d visited on my own several months previously for a quick look and lunch.

Ethnic India

  • Address: 4/2-6 Kilmur Road, Hoppers Crossing
  • Phone: 9369 4133


At that time, I reckoned Ethnic India must have been easily the biggest Indian restaurant in Melbourne, taking up a whole warehouse.

Through the use of screens and such like, efforts had been made to separate the restaurant space from the bar, functions rooms, kitchen and so on.

But, basically, it was a huge space.

What Bennie and I find is quite different.

The proprietors have pretty much created a building within a building – all the same facilities remain, but they are much more strictly defined.

They include a restaurant space that is the typical flash of some Indian places – including tall-backed chairs so lavishly cushioned that, upon sitting, you feel like you are sinking almost until your chin rests on the table.

On this day, there are heaps of guests arriving for a catered birthday party out back, but we are the only restaurant diners.

Onion Bhaji at Ethnic India. Photo: Kenny Weir
Onion Bhaji at Ethnic India. Photo: Kenny Weir

The very long menu is presented on both sides of two wooden paddles.

We proceed to enjoy a fine light lunch.

Onion bhaji ($8.50) are less like the Indian-style onion rings we are expecting and more like pakoras.

They’re good, though, and nicely moist. We take two of them home for Bennie’s school lunch the next day.

Cholle bhature is also very good, if a bit pricey at $15 for a snack-style offering.

The chickpeas are excellent – they seem fresher than is often the case with this dish, and are mildly spiced.

The breads are a tad oily, but hot and fine.

The price is ameliorated somewhat by the $15 deal including a salted Punjabi-style lassie.

I think the mostly uniform biryanis we eat in and around West Footscray are of the Hyderabad kind.

The Ethnic India lamb biryani ($15) is a significant contrast.

All is different for us – the seasoning (mild chilli levels); the colour; the inclusion of many currants, cashews and green capsicum; lamb chunks not on the bone – most welcome!

There’s a hefty serve of raita on the side to complete a solid offering.

Ethnic India is well worth a try – and parking is a breeze.

Kenny Weir is the founder of Consider the Sauce, the definitive guide to eating in Melbourne’s western suburbs –

Ethnic India interior. Photo: Kenny Weir
Ethnic India interior. Photo: Kenny Weir