This new place, open only a week or so and just a few minutes walk from home , is something of a “find”. Now that’s “find” as in “find” for me, not the not inconsiderable number of folk who have already posted reviews on Trip Advisor.
This is definitely not your “any protein with any sauce” high street curry house and, with a few exceptions, there’s nothing on the menu that you’re going to find on the high street. Most of the menu is given over to the more snacky sort of dishes that, I understand, South Indians would describe as being tiffin dishes. It means that portion size can be quite restrained and you need to order a good range of dishes, much as you might for a mezze or tapas meal.
So, we kicked off with a range of mixed starters to share. Bhel puri was a good mix of rice, pastry and potato, drizzled with a date chutney – not the finest bhel I’ve eaten (not even in the SK8 postcode) but it was pretty decent. Sev puri and dahi puri had their similarities of being, well, puri. One stuffed with potato, the other with onion and yoghurt. Both of them were really good. We also ordered a seekh kebab – one of those dishes by which you might judge the high street curry house. Tasty meat, well rounded spicing with a nice chilli kick. Perhaps a tad dry but this was masked by the lovely raita served with it.
The menu has a range of six dosas, as well as other South Indian specialities such as idly and vada. But it was the dosas that caught our eyes. Mysore masala dosa was a spin on the plain masala dosa. The pancake is first spread with chutney before the potato filling is added. It was a well made crisp dosa but it paled in front of the onion rava dosa. A very different sort of dosa, made from semolina, it is thinner than the more common one and very, very crisp. Absolutely lovely. Both came with coconut and tomato chutneys and, perhaps, the best tasting sambar we can recall.
We’d taken the waiter’s advice when ordering and he reckoned that we’d still probably be wanting more to eat at this stage. And he was right. He’d recommended a vegetable biryani. And it was a good recommendation. Vegetables, with cauliflower most dominant, still retained a little bite. OK, the rice was a bit claggy but it didn’t interfere too much with the enjoyment.
Pricing is a bargain – with dosas around £4 and the starters even less. Service was spot-on from the two front of house guys. I could see the kitchen and there was just a calm air of chefs getting on cooking food. This all makes for a relaxing experience. If there is to be a small criticism, it’s that the place is small and a tad cramped and, on the night we were there, very warm.
Oh, yes, we’re going to be regulars. Very regular regulars.