A Sydney photographer explores a different suburb of her city each week in the blog @52suburbs. She discovers a microcosm of the world in her own city. If you’re having a staycation in Melbourne, you can do the same. In this vein, I visited Bikaner Cafe in ‘Little India’, Dandenong. Named after a Rajasthani town, the cafe offers authentic food. That’s probably why it was packed with Indian families.
The food is Northern Indian. It is tasty and best accompanied by their freshly made bread. However, what really transported me back to India were the sweets. As their syrup oozed in my mouth, I was again in a Gujarati village, attending a day of wedding ceremonies. The ceremonies were attended by the entire village. Every girl in the village aged between 8 and 16 was being married. As the village was a poor one, they did marriages cost effectively – all at once! The pre-pubescent girls did not go immediately to live with their husbands, but the rest did. It was certainly a day of high emotion, lots of colour with all the brides in red saris, and mountains of food.
Bikaner Cafe is open from 10am to 10pm every day. Most curries are less than $10. Decor is basic, but service is good. You can eat in or take away. I have eaten in the cafe several times, taking a box of sweets home – along with memories of India.