Unchain my heart

WITH Fringe World kicking off in Cathedral Square, the swish eateries at the revamped Treasury looked appealing, but unfortunately nearly all the prices dwarfed a journo’s pay.

There was one exception, but that didn’t open in time to make the show, so we ventured east and ended up at City Heart on Pier Street.

The hyperbole on the restaurant’s website reminded me of Sonny Kapoor, the overly enthusiastic manager of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:

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“Undoubtedly set to be one of the city’s most happening hotspots. [And] with its majestic status, its thousand flavour menu and its irreproachable welcome the City Heart imposes itself as an elegant, trendy and delicious restaurant.”

Trendy it isn’t, and the alfresco tables have seen better days.

But it’s the food that counts, right?

Of course it is, and there was no faulting the delicious dishes from India’s northern states — or the enthusiastic welcome and prompt service.

A mango lassi ($5) is a must at any Indian restaurant and City Heart did this staple justice.

It was so thick it was almost a smoothy and the mango flavours burst through with a roar.

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We kicked off with onion bhaji ($6) and an aloo malai tikki ($10).

The onion fritter bhaji were crisp and flavoursome, while the potato and paneer cheese cakes, served with dried nuts and chutney, were out of this world.

For mains D’Angerous Dave and I shared a chilly fish fry, an aloo gobhi, a vegetarian biryani (all $14), and a garlic nan  ($4.50).

The spicy batter gave the fish fillets a real zing and we wolfed them down.

Aloo, with its potato and cauliflower, is one of the most popular dishes in northern India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, and this one was a credit to its popularity.

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The potato and cauliflower, nestled in a spicy sauce, retained their texture while being soft enough to require little chewing.

The biryani was dum pukht (slow oven cooked), a technique that gently releases the flavours of the ingredients.

And the basmati rice, with saffron and cardamon, was crammed with flavour, and light and fluffy.

With an exotic and satisfying meal under our belt, we headed off to enjoy the weird and wacky Fringe World.

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by JENNY D’ANGER

City Heart
48 Pier Street, Perth
6161 7990
open 7 days lunch and dinner
licenced

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