The Bagga family took a big risk when they decided to up-sticks and move from their celebrated Fremantle restaurant, Maya, to Northbridge and open a hip, casual, street Indian restaurant.
Indian restaurants in Australia tend to be highly conservative, never straying far from the butter chicken, garlic naan, tikka masala view of the world. Not at Sauma. It’s unlike any Indian food you’ve tried before. As he showed us at Maya, chef/owner Gurps Bagga loves to step out of the box.
You want “street?” You want pani puri. It’s a wheat flour dough rolled very thin which puffs up into a perfect ball when deep fried. The staff knock the top off the pastry and fill the hollow pani puri with a green herbs, chilli, jiggery, black salt, roast cumin and tequila salsa. The ball is popped into the mouth and it explodes with flavour. Not your average Indian restaurant.
Heat more your thing? Kerala pork curry is richly, numbingly, perfectly hot. It’s served with scratch-made string hoppers to dunk in the glossy gravy.
You can sit outside on a quiet side street under a large canopy of trees or inside at long communal tables. Or there’s always the bar. You can eat anywhere. Best thing is to prop at the bar have an icy beer and down some snacks. Charred green chicken tikka done in the tandoor with mint chutney is our bar snack of preference.