Within the oldest Baptist church of its kind in Victoria sits Charcha, Geelong’s newest Indian restaurant

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Within the oldest Baptist church of its kind in Victoria sits Charcha, Geelong’s newest Indian restaurant

Here, food is the new religion.

It takes a while to build character in a café, and not everyone can achieve it. Though for Charcha Indian Restaurant, originally functioning as a Baptist church since it opened in 1857, the building effortlessly oozes charm.

Having quietly opened its doors late last year, Charcha is the charming new restaurant serving up authentic Indian cuisine in Geelong.

The key takeaways

  • Charcha is the newest Indian restaurant to grace Geelong
  • The restaurant is located within an old Baptist Church, previously Chapel on Little Ryrie
  • Charcha opened late in December last year

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Taking over Chapel On Little Ryrie, a quaint café and function space that sadly closed down, the restaurant maintains the buildings past, with the high arched ceiling, the stained glass windows, the aged wood throughout and of course the quirky quote ‘Thou God Seest Me’ on the far wall as you enter. With the walls of greenery, vintage style festoon lighting, triple-panel sliding doors to the outside area, the fit-out alone is worth visiting for, mainly for its integrity to the heritage structure and the abundance of natural light.

The food, however, is where the Charcha journey really begins, taking you on an exciting round-trip of Indian cuisine. Inspired by spreading warmth through food, Charcha sticks to the ethos of its mother cuisine while delivering to a global audience, letting people explore their own gastronomical pursuits.

With Bangladesh head chef MD Tohidul Alam at the helm – a chef previously dishing up delicious eats at Melbourne’s Red Paper Restaurant and Gaylord Indian Restaurant – Charcha promises your tastebuds are on track to just one destination: deliciousness.

To start your adventure, an array of yogurt and spiced tandoori dishes lead the appetizer menu, including the likes of authentic tandoori chicken, tandoori mushroom, fish tandoori, tandoori paneer, and non-veg tandoori platter. Other delicious options include Haryali chicken (made with fresh aromatic herbs and spices), chicken Tikka, and for those that like it spicy, a peppercorn chicken tikka.

Follow up with one of the hearty curries or Biriyani for your main, including lamb vindaloo, chicken korma, butter chicken, fish curry, chicken biriyani, lamb jalfrezi, and always a hero of the menu, lamb rogan josh.

Vegetarians can take part in the journey too, with mains ranging from Palak Paneer, mix veg korma, dal dry (an Indian lentil recipe made with pigeon pea lentils, onions, tomatoes and spices), or a Aloo Mutter (Besan Pakoda gently cooked in mild gravy of buttermilk spiced with condiments).

Complete your culinary trip with saffron rice, garlic naan and some of Charcha’s specialty desserts – our eyes are on the Gulab Jamun (soft dough balls soaked in caramelized sugar syrup) and the Rasmalai (cottage cheese balls soaked in saffron milk, cream and garnished with fine pista and saffron strand).

For the penny pinchers, the restaurant even offers up some cheeky combo deals including two non-vegetarian curries served with rice/naan for $15; one veg and one non-veg curry served with rice/naan for $14 and two vegetarian curries with rice/naan for $13.

So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a ticket to this hot (figuratively and literally) new dining destination, where a return trip is almost 100% guaranteed.

Charcha is located at 10 Little Ryrie Street and is open Monday to Thursday from 10am-5pm, and Friday and Saturday between 10am-11pm. Visit the website for more information.