Sri-Lankan born Devinda Jayasinghe grew up in Perth, spending much of his childhood around the South-East Asian restaurants run by his parents. During his 10-year finance career, the urge to open his own restaurant never went away. A year ago he gave up his nine-to-five, built a development kitchen at the back of his house and started work on a menu. Today, he is the owner and head chef of Sohé Thai fusion restaurant in Bicton.
At its core, Sohe is a Thai restaurant, albeit one with Indian and Sri Lankan influences. Thus, the menu features traditional Thai dishes alongside hybrid small-plate dishes.
“Even though I came from Sri Lanka when I was eight, I used to go back once a year,” says Jayasinghe. “There are so many different influences. Everybody’s kitchen keeps their secrets and the culture of food is really strong. Food is almost competitive over there. When you go to somebody’s place for dinner, everyone’s a critic.”
House specialities include slow-cooked pork belly in a Thai-Sichuan sauce, stuffed banana chillies in coconut-milk gravy and sautéed beef cutlets, crumbed and served in arancini-like form with a chilli barbeque sauce. While the restaurant’s core dishes will remain, Jayasinghe plans on changing the menu at least twice a year.
Sohé opened its doors four months ago, but Jayasinghe has intentionally kept things quiet until he felt he was ready.
“You don’t want to make that mistake of being too busy, too early, too quickly,” he says. “I wanted good, strong organic growth so we were able to focus on the elements of quality. There’s still things for us to develop.”
A mural from local artist Linzi Carter brings colour to the minimalist fitout. The restaurant is BYO, but plans are underway to offer a small selection of paired wines.
Sohé Thai Fusion
2-3/83 Petra Street, Bicton
(08) 9339 0667
Tue-Sun from 5pm