A city corner comes to life as the place to taste street eats of India.
As you turn off William Street towards the double corner doors that house Sauma, you could be entering any establishment; the décor is minimal, the music nondescript, and were it not for the hints of garam masala and chilli wafting out the door as you enter, you wouldn’t clock that this is Perth’s answer to where to eat modern Indian street food.
Then there’s the fork-tender goat cooked on the bone – best scooped up with a paratha, crisp from the tandoor.
Spiked with tequila or without, the pani puri – herby, zesty shots in a puffed wheat bubble – make for the perfect starter. Small plates might feature samosas and bhajis, but for something a little different, go the tender, sweet tamarind lamb ribs spotted with black salt, or creamy, charred paneer tikka with Carnarvon honey atop cumin-rich beetroot dip.
Curries deliver familiar flavours – vindaloo and korma, say – and mild butter chicken makes
a crowd-pleasing appearance. But there’s interest here – that korma features duck, for example, and WA barramundi comes wrapped in banana leaf, the flesh holding a lingering chilli heat and tamarind and coconut sweetness. Then there’s the fork-tender goat cooked on the bone – best scooped up with a paratha, crisp from the tandoor.
Cocktails take cues from tradition – they might be spiced and infused with tamarind, saffron and curry leaf – while the wine and beer lists traverse Australia and South Asia alike, with Indian whiskies on offer among a large spirits selection. Fresh, with a sense of lightness, Sauma feels a far cry from the corner takeaway, with creativity at the centre.