A spicy surprise

ZAB SALAD in Fremantle’s East End looks decidedly low-key, so I was surprised when several of my friends kept nagging me to check it out.

I eventually acquiesced and made the trek from Chook HQ in Freo’s heritage-listed West End to the cold-war era architecture of the East.

Zab’s utilitarian decor was instantly improved by the warm welcome of owner Umair Ahmed, who showed me and a couple of my work colleagues to our seats.

A chef of 24 years, he trained in India and worked at a number of Perth restaurants including the Maharajah, Indian Garden and The Turban, before opening Zab Salad 12 years ago.

• Umair Ahmed and his wife Kulsum Rizwan run Zab Salad. Photo by Jenny D’Anger

Zab means spicy and the fish curry from the bain marie didn’t hold back

“It’s nice, but my mouth is burning,” said Herald all-rounder Julie.

For a mere $10 you get two dishes from the bain marie, and her second was a saag paneer: “The cheese is really lovely.”

Slightly salty, with a creamy spinach sauce, it went well with the mushroom masala I’d ordered.

Dubbed the vegetarian’s meat, the mushroom was firm and the sauce had a spicy zing.

Chook sales whizz Fiona ordered the butter chicken (for a ridiculous $6).

“It’s mild and very flavoursome,” she opined tucking into the tender flesh.

We all enjoyed a mango lassi ($5), which was thick, not too sweet and had lots of fruit punch.

All up the bill was just $41.50, and we were so full we had to pass on trying the house-made gulab jamun.

Zab’s hard working owners sell their food at the growers green market, Palmyra growers market and South Beach night markets.

And if that wasn’t enough, they do catering as well.

by JENNY D’ANGER

Zab Salad Indian Cafe
142 High Street, Fremantle
9430 7786

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