In this trawl through the Age Cheap Eats book, it's inevitable that I'd be eating Indian food at some point.
So this evening my friend Julia and I alighted from the train at Fairfield Station, walked past the giant wooden statue of a dog that once electronically barked at trains, and headed to Everest.
The interior was nice enough: a suburban ethnic eatery but more spacious than some and with aspirations to grandeur in its ornate wooden furniture and decorations.
The menu was an exposition of all the usual Indian favourites, so we ordered a selection and they showed up pretty quickly.
This is the chicken tikka masala (front) and the excellent baigan bharta, a kind of thick and spicy paste made from eggplant:
The other two dishes were the yoghurt-and-cucumber dish raita, and an exceptionally hot but tasty beef vindaloo. These two were a match made in heaven, with their respective cooling and heating qualities:
Gotta say I'm more of a naan person than a rice person:
And a Royal Challenge beer from India to complete the ensemble. Never heard of it before but it was just as bland but drinkable as the more famous Kingfisher:
The food was good, not big serves but well prepared and tastefully presented.
The only problem I had in the end was the price - $80 for two people seemed a bit steep for the amount of food and the perfunctory service.
It's as if Everest was trying hard to be flash to justify its prices but not quite making it; eg there were crisp white tablecloths, but also endorsements from cricketers on the walls and in the menus.
This style confusion made the restaurant seem adrift somewhere between local Indian eatery and smart restaurant, and a little overpriced as a result.
Still, it was good food and I'm glad I had the sense to order raita to ease that very good vindaloo.
The Bill: $80.50 for two.
The Restaurant: Everest, 85 Station St, Fairfield; ph 03 9482 2583.