Maya, one of the state’s longest-running Indian restaurants, will close in September after 26 years in the care of the Bagga family. Not a bad effort for a venture that chef and co-owner Gurps Bagga admits wasn’t on his family’s agenda when they migrated to Perth from Uttarakhand in India’s north.
“Maya wasn’t a business, it was a means to an end,” he says. “I was studying computers at uni, but didn’t see myself doing it, so I got into the restaurant industry.”
Eaters can be thankful for the family’s decision. Since taking over the fledgling Market Street restaurant in 1989, the Baggas have turned Maya into one of the state’s more notable Indian dining options. Much of this longevity, it’s safe to say, can be attributed to the restaurant’s catalogue of non-standard-issue dishes; offerings such as the Prawn-a-Maya, a rich coconut prawn curry, or those addictive chickpea-battered fillets of Shark Bay whiting served with pineapple chutney. In the lead-up to its closure, the restaurant will offer many of these greatest hits and signature dishes on its a la carte and banquet menus.
While Bagga says he feels the time is right to close Maya (“26 years is a long time in the game and we wanted to take a break and wind things down,” he says. “It’s nice to bow out on our own terms.”), he’s looking forward to giving Sauma, the family’s 18-month-old Northbridge restaurant and small bar, his undivided attention.
“There’s a lot of things I’ve been meaning to do,” he says. “One of the key things we’re working on is lunch and brekkie. We also want to focus a little bit more on the late-night menu. There’s been a big demand for that, but I haven’t been able to put as much energy into that as I’d like.”
Maya, 75 Market Street, Fremantle, 08 9335 2796, closes after its final service on October 16.