Spicy pull

IS the hilly strip between Hungry Jack’s and the Canning Bridge a black hole for restaurants?

It seems that Clancy’s Fish Pub is the only one to escape its gravitational pull, with others lasting a year or two before getting sucked into the culinary event horizon.

Atithi is the latest to try its luck on the strip, opening in December last year.

An Indian restaurant opening in the height of summer? 

Perhaps not the best launch date, but with the cooler weather arriving, I took the family along for a feed. The restaurant was bright and spacious with wide tables and a contemporary look. 

I liked the high-backed, black leather chairs which looked plush and were very comfortable (amazing the amount of restaurants that have uncomfy seats).

The rear wall had a funky mural – a fun and energetic ode to India with a woman in a sari praying, a frantic waiter and a man playing the tabla. It really brought the place to life.

The waitress was very friendly and gave us a carafe of water and some poppadoms with mint sauce while we perused the menu.

I was impressed by the range of dishes; there was all the old favourites as well as some more esoteric fare like Rara Gosht (mutton mince curry), Dal Tadka (yellow lentil curry) and Baingan Bharta (smoky roast eggplant).

I plumped for the prawn balchao ($25.90) with some basmati rice ($5) to share.

There were plenty of large juicy prawns, which were nicely cooked, while the dark and exotic sauce packed a spicy punch.

The onions and tomato dominated this dish, but it was the sour paste that added a unqiue tart reprise. 

Halfway through, the mix raita ($5) provided some cool relief from the belligerent sauce.

My prawn curry was very enjoyable, but my wife’s lamb korma ($23.90) was the standout.

The sauce had a delicious medley of yoghurt, nuts and spices.

Creamy and thick, it was the perfect foil for the Kashmiri Naan ($6), which was crammed with coconut and dried fruit.

“The sauce has great depth of flavour and goes really well with the tender chunks of lamb,” my wife said.

“I normally go for the chicken korma, but this lamb variation is a bolder and more interesting choice, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. A lovely dish.”

My young kids were tucking into their butter chicken curry with rice and chips from the kids/lunch menu ($12.90)

It was great value and had just the right level of spiciness.

Throughout our meal the service was great, with the Bollywood music playing in the background adding an authentic and lively vibe.

Atithi also has a great range of beers, wines and spirits, and do lunch offers and takeaway discounts. 

If there’s any justice it will be a hit with Applecross locals, especially those moving into the plush new hi-rise at the top of the hill.

Hopefully Atithi can defy the laws of physics and get some fish pakora to Stephen Hawking on the other side of that event horizon.

Atithi restaurant
901 Canning Highway, Applecross


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