Budget belter

• Bicton MP Lisa O’Malley was spotted getting her spicy fix at Zab Indian Curry House in 2021. The modest eatery survived numerous covid lockdowns and is still going strong.

STILL paying off the Christmas credit card?

Hanging on by your fingernails until the January pay cheque at the end of the month?

With this in mind, the Chook decided to visit Zab Curry House in Bicton.

The modest Indian joint has no delusions of grandeur, but does the basics well – the inside is neat, tidy and clean with a small dining area and some bench seating by the window.

I like the bench seating as it means you can eat a curry on your own without looking like Billy-no-mates.

Outwith food courts, I can’t think of any other curry houses that have this option, so if you like wolfing down a korma on your Sweeney Todd then head to Zab.

The takeaway menu was small and covered all the old favourites including butter chicken, tikka masala, lamb rogan josh and beef masala, as well as a nice range of vegan and vegetarian dishes, and some starters and desserts.

This might be a deal breaker for some – most of the curries are pre-prepared in a bain-marie at the counter.

If it had been pasta or another type of cuisine it would bother me, but with the meat getting extra time to absorb the curry sauce it might actually boost the flavour. 

One big plus is that all the mains, apart from one prawn dish, were under $19 which is great value for money.

While the inside was pleasant, I imagine most people would get a takeaway, so I ordered some Indian goodies to go.

My eggplant and potato curry ($16.40) was a lovely dish, crammed with tons of soft, salty eggplant and dainty chunks of potato.

It had a thick, mild sauce with a nice balance of flavours that kept you coming back for more.

Normally I get a bit bored with vegetarian curries, but I finished this no problem, maybe because the thick, fleshy eggplant tricked my brain into thinking I was eating meat.

The accompanying steamed basmati rice ($3.80) was fragrant, light and fluffy and didn’t bag you up. Another success.

Across the table my wife “Special K” was head-first in her lamb rogan josh ($18.90), trying to self-medicate after her first couple of days back at work.

“I don’t like things too spicy, so the heat level is just right for me,” she said.

“Lamb can be a lottery, but this has nice tender cubes of meat with no excess fat and stringy bits.

“I love the moreish tomato-based sauce and it’s a very enjoyable rogan josh.”

My wife thought the papadams ($3.80) were some of the best she’d had in a while – “fresh and perfectly crisp with a slightly peppery kick.”

My young kids – who desperately need to go back to school or be sent to some kind of military boarding school in North Korea – shared a creamy butter chicken ($18.90).

It was just the right spice level for them and the portion size was spot on. They finished it all and didn’t leave any chook on the plate.

The only real negative was the garlic naan ($4.40). It was way too small and about the same size as the piddly ones you get in the supermarket.

There was plenty of garlic, but it was no match for the freshly made ones, which are cooked in a tandoor oven and the size of a whale’s tongue. The entire meal delivered came to $68.70 which is about $17 a head, which for me is great value for a family of four.

Zab know what they’re doing and often have stalls at various food markets around Perth and Fremantle. Their Bicton store 

has gone down well with locals, surviving covid lockdowns, and even local Labor MP Lisa O’Malley has been spotted popping down for her spicy fix. 

Zab isn’t going to win any Michelin stars, but if you’re after a tasty well-priced curry it’s a solid bet.

Zab Indian Curry House
15/258-288 Canning Highway, Bicton


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