Indian delights

FREMANTLE’S Maya Indian Restaurant became one of Perth’s elite restaurants last month when it was awarded the Catering Institute’s highest accolade, the Prix d’Honneur Award, at this year’s Gold Plate Awards. So it was with high expectations that my partner and I headed down to Fremantle to dine in what the Catering Institute judges have declared as the best unlicensed Asian restaurant in Perth.

Located on one of Fremantle’s most popular pedestrian strips, Maya blends in with the stores surrounding it.

I found Maya quite welcoming. There is no front desk area, which means you get seated instantly, circumventing the “take a seat while you wait for us to seat you at a table” effect. Actually, the lack of a reception area is the result of the restaurant’s overall space constraints, but it works well nonetheless.

The owners have utilised the long, narrow space available to create as much dining area as possible and the restaurant can seat up to 78 diners, including an upstairs section and outdoor table area.

Our table for two was booked for 7pm and, by this time, the front of the restaurant was fairly full, providing intimacy despite the noise and crowd.

We ordered an entree tasting plate – and it is something I would thoroughly suggest if your palate isn’t familiar with the flavours of India. It provides a great opportunity to try little amounts of some classic Indian dishes. The plate consisted of chicken tikka, kersi seekh kebabs, tandoori prawns and eggplant pakoras. The pakoras were my favourite, coated in a sweet deep fried batter, which complemented the eggplant flavour inside.

When deciding on our main course I couldn’t go past what the menu declared as Maya’s signature dish, the Chicken Mumtaz (butter chicken). My partner ordered the Gosht Korma, which is lamb in a cashew nut-based gravy.

Another pleasant surprise was that the meals came in individual serving dishes, not on plates, making sharing easier.

The chicken was tender and the sauce was truly amazing. We had to order extra nan to soak it all up. I wasn’t going to miss out on a single mouthful.

The lamb pieces were as succulent as the chicken and the gravy was a creamy nut delight. The cashew nut base created an exquisite flavour.

In the time between finishing our entree and savouring the delights of our main course, the number of diners in the restaurant had doubled. As the couple next to us left, their table was cleared and a fresh tablecloth laid down in no time.

While the staff at Maya know what they’re doing and what everyone around them is doing, it was hard to attract the attention of a staff member when things really started to hot up.

It took about five minutes for us to get the attention of a waiter and, unfortunately, the drinks we ordered had not arrived by the time we finished our meals and proceeded to pay. However, this was a minor blemish on what was an impeccable meal which, on the whole, came with fantastic service.

Awards and praise are tough, according to owner Gurps Bagga, who started Maya Indian Restaurant nine years ago. He says since opening, partons’ expectations have become much higher. He says it is because of these expectations that his staff must work tirelessly in order to satisfy diners.

Maya Indian Restaurant is open Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm and is BYO. They also have a take away menu if it’s just the great food you’re after.

Maya Indian Restaurant

75 Market St


9335 2796

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