Having had a pretty average experience at 2 Fat Indians in Cottesloe (which probably had more to do with being in Cottesloe than anything else), and being reasonably sceptical of this strange Indian chain restaurant thing that seems to be taking over Perth, the bloggers were not super fired up about their trip to 2 Fat Indians on Beaufort Street, but, as usual, tried to keep an open mind.
When we arrived we were warmly greeted and promptly shown to our enormous table. The table was huge. At least 30 people could sit around that table, so it would be perfect for the 4 of us and the 5 or 6 wine coolers they would require. We took in the atmosphere and were impressed by the understated but rather beautiful décor, fresh flowers, calming lighting and appropriate yet slightly wanky Indian lounge music.
The wine list was also impressive - an excellent selection of varying prices, regions and varietals - and all the appropriate beers to boot. So, in that stuffwhitepeoplelike kind of way, we felt obliged to order a couple of rounds of Kingfisher beers before we moved onto the first of our 4 bottles of white wine.
To the food. Instead of the menu, the waitress accidentally gave us each a copy of Britannica's Encyclopaedia of Indian Cuisine. The list of foods was staggering. The Starters menu was divided into 6 separate sections - vegetarian, chicken, lamb, seafood, platters and 'sizzlers' - each section had at least 6 selections and some selections had options. Christ. Asking the Deliberator to choose a starter would be like taking an epileptic to a rave - something terrible would happen so you just wouldn't do it. In fact, choosing a starter was even troubling to the Brains, who loves nothing more than to order for the whole table without paying heed to anyone's suggestions, preferences, food allergies or pregnancy status.
So, there was no way round it, it had to be a platter and, just to see what the hell they were, a sizzler. On the side we ordered Calamari Chilli Mili, which was calamari deep fried and tossed with vegetables and Indian spices. The platter comprised of samosas, paneer bhatti tikka, lamb seekh kebab, macchi amritsari, murgh malai kebab. We're embarrassed to admit that we don't know our macchi from our murgh or our bhatti from our amristari but it was all pretty bloody delicious. The sizzler was a combination of prawn, fish and chicken, cooked with onion, capsicum and kadahi masala gravy (ie, tandoori). The tandoori'd products were succulent, full of heat and piping hot. So far so very good. But it was the calamari that was the stand out – tender pieces of spicy squid quickly fried and served with (not too many) fresh vegetables. Impressive.
Moving to the mains. If we thought ordering starters was a chore, mains were practically impossible. The same 6 headings came up again, each with several selections, but this time with the addition of goat. After much bickering, backstabbing and juvenile squabbling, we landed on baby goat curry, palak paneer, lamb saagwala and murgh peshawari (which was chicken) and at least $350 worth of condiments, breads and rices. The best part about Indian food is the sides.
The goat curry was the standout, the meat was strong and the saffron flavouring was fabulous. The Deliberator loves nothing more than sucking on the bones of a dead baby goat, so he was in heaven. The rest of us had to endure around half and hour listening to him slurp out the marrow and chew off microscopic bits of meat left on the bone, then loudly spit the bones into the little metal serving bowl, ensuing each bone made maximum noise on departure from his mouth. The palak paneer was also a highlight, with the paneer being of the finest home-style quality which most definitely did not taste like the cans of palak paneer The Deliberator and The Brains so love to buy from Prime Products. The other dishes were good, but frankly, it is hard to distinguish them from similar dishes served at every other similarly priced and styled Indian restaurant in Perth, including: Bollywood, Nine Mary's, Chutney Mary's, Little Chutney's, Mela, the Cinnamon Club - the list probably goes on.
Of course, we had over ordered, so dessert was not on the cards. Instead, the Bloggers rounded out the night by lying on Booto's and The Sponge's couches, rubbing our bellies and discussing what form the meal would take in the morning (incidentally, that conversation continued by email for most of the next day).
Service: The service was really good actually, there was always someone around ready to bring us more wine. At one stage a waiter smashed a beer bottle on our table, but the apology was quick, the clean-up even quicker, and as a result we couldn't have cared less about it.
Food: Fresh ingredients, appropriate heat, tender meats and great condiments. However, not so amazing we couldn't wait to get back.
Ambience: Perfect - a great mix of low lighting, casual seating and spa-like décor made us feel like we could sit there for hours. So we did.
Highlight: The goat curry.
Lowlight: The Deliberator sucking the goats bones dry.
Rating: 3.5 goat femurs out of 5.
Will we be back: Hard to say really. Probably. Maybe. We don't know. Indian's hard, it's not something we eat all that regularly so when we do we tend to try new places. It is 100% better than its Cottesloe sister though.
Details: 2 Fat Indians is next door to the Queens Hotel. Call them on 9228 0720. It is fully licensed and our meal plus drinks came to about $70 per head. But we did over order and drink far too much.
PS: apologies, we could only find a picture of one fat Indian.