If you love your Perth Indian food, have a read of my writer Ros’s post about Sauma with an empty stomach…
Spices and aromatics are words that come to mind when enjoying Indian food so I was looking forward to sampling what Sauma in Northbridge had to offer when I was invited for lunch over the weekend.
Located on the corner of William and James St, the restaurant is spacious and modern with the feel of industrial meets the influence of Bombay. A large open bar is situated near the entrance while the rest of the restaurant allows for table or booth style dining. Natural light floods through the large open windows to illuminate the decorative elements hanging from the ceiling.
Gurps, owner and head chef of Sauma, greeted us on arrival and explained that we would be feasting on Indian street food where flavours from all over India have been incorporated into his dishes. Unlike typical heavy Indian cuisine, Gurps has fused light, delicate flavours and fresh aromatic spices to traditional Indian recipes that can be enjoyed during lunch or dinner.
This is what we had…
Oysters – chai smoked oyster w/ shallot dressing ($4 each)
Chargrilled chilli squid w/ watermelon salad and spiced aioli ($14) and Cheese nann – fresh baked, three cheese, chilli and coriander ($6)
My sister, who was my guest for the day, said that she was keen to try this dish and it didn’t disappoint. Tender smoky squid and chunky, juicy watermelon was a perfect match. Dish of the day for her, I too loved it and it was a clash of forks over who would get the last piece.
Any meal that includes cheese is a highlight for me so when the cheese nann came out from the kitchen, I was delighted. Gurps explained that the three cheeses consisted of feta, mozzarella and ricotta. The bread was soft and fluffy and the cheeses were gooey and full of flavor. Perfect.
Bheja fry – caramelized onions, tomatoes, lamb brains, coriander, plain paratha ($16)
When this dish arrived at our table, visually, it’s appealing – paratha accompanied with a dip of some kind. Gurps explained that it should be eaten like a taco and told us just to try it. I was dubious because of the lack of detail but gave it a go. It was nicely spiced and had the consistency of curried egg, slightly soft but chunky. Upon hearing it was brains however, it did turn me off slightly. Apparently offal is common in India, but for this Westernized girl, it was a little more than I could stomach.
Field mushrooms – tandoor roasted, garlic, kewra sultanas w/ cashew sauce ($14)
Definitely the prettiest looking dish of the day, these plump, succulent mushrooms were delectable. I’d never think of pomegranate and mushrooms as a good combination but it worked amazingly well. This dish was popular with both of us and we agreed that we would order it again on our next visit.
Cauliflower salad – saffron, chickpeas, tomato, cucumber pickle, leaves w/ yoghurt dressing ($16)
This dish reminds me of a salad my mum makes and took me back to meals around my parents’ dining table. Blanched cauliflower florets mixed in with chickpeas, this is a healthy and light option with the sharpness of house made pickles.
Lamb ribs – twice cooked, sweet tamarind, chilli, mint, coriander ($16)
Anything slow cooked is a winner for my taste buds and these lamb ribs didn’t disappoint. Gurps explained that these ribs were actually cooked several times over and you can tell from the way the meat fell off the bone. The fatty rind had been rendered down and gave a burst of flavor as you bit into the tender meat. This dish is sure to be a favourite with everyone.
Sunshine – orange, apple, carrot, ginger and lemon – $7
Freshly squeezed juice is so refreshing and it was lovely to drink one of these as we neared the end of lunch. The perfect mix of fruit and vegetables with a hint of ginger and lemon on your palate; tasty and healthy.
Tiffen express – vegetarian – vegetable moilee, rice, mini nann, bindas bonda
The lunchboxes/travel bowls are offered at lunchtime at Sauma and Gurps explained that they are widely used throughout India; where there is an efficient system used to deliver hot lunches to workers across the country. It’s a clever way to serve the meal and reminds me of a Japanese bento box where food is served in different compartments on a tray. The tiffen carriers are unlocked by releasing a small catch on the side to release all the containers.
Ours contained rice, a vegetable curry, bindas bonda which resembled a potato covered in a chickpea coating and was then deep fried; and a salad. Feeling so full from devouring so much food already, and wanting to leave some space for dessert, this was a struggle to fit in but no less tasty than the other choices. This was a really enjoyable way to eat Indian food and then you get a taster of several different options. Loved this.
Poached pear in saffron and cardamom w/ chai ice cream and praline
This dessert was a dream to eat and as full as we were, my sister and I both managed to devour most of this. The spiced infused pear was oh so soft and with the chai ice cream it was so satisfying to eat with its blend of sweetness and spice. The praline added that all-important crunch to every mouthful.
Sauma is a great addition to Northbridge and is a place I can’t wait to head back to. Offering an extensive lunch and dinner menu, there are dishes that I look forward to enjoying again and several others that I can’t wait to try. Guaranteed to have success as more and more people discover the culinary delights hidden in this up and coming restaurant.
A bit about Ros Buckley (@hungerpangs_00)
I love socialising and eating so if I can combine the two, it’s a match made in heaven. Always like to try somewhere new but can’t beat eating Vietnamese or Japanese food at a local haunt. I’m excited to explore more of what Perth has to offer and will base my reviews on food, service and the atmosphere of a restaurant.
Disclaimer: foodie cravings was invited as a guest of Sauma. See disclosure policy for more details.