Why go here:
To try out authentic South Indian food.
For those who link Baltis and Kormas to Indian food, the food here might be a bit of a surprise because Southern Indian food is worlds apart, but equally delicious, albeit spicier than the more popular North Indian curries.
What it looks like:
This branch is located in Oxford Circus, just five minutes’ walk from the station on a little lane off the main street. Even though the restaurant is spread across three floors, the tables are jam-packed together and buzzing with diners with loads being turned away. The décor and the walls are all very pink and the air was heavy with the smell of incense.
The menu is quite extensive but the structure is a bit confusing because they have the small plates featured under both ‘Pre-meal snacks’ and ‘Starters’ and the bigger plates are present under ‘Dosas’, ‘Main meals’ and ‘Vegetarian curries’.
The starters are all deep-fried dishes but as we all know most great dishes in the world tend to be heart attack inducing, so you’re rest assured these will be tasty. I tried the Medhu Vadai for starters. These are spongy balls, crispy on the outside are made with urad (which is a kind of Indian lentil) and with specks of chili and served with a fresh coconut chutney.
For mains, I tried the Masala Dosa. For those that don’t know, Dosas are savoury pancakes, made with a rice and lentil batter and can come with or without a filling. Mine came with a spicy, potato filling tempered with onions and mustard seeds. The dosa was crispy and pretty large, with the dosa extending out on both sides of the plate. The dish was served with Sambar, a lentil dish with vegetables and curry leaves.
My friend ordered the Calicut Chicken Kurma and the Varutharacha Kozhy Curry. The former is creamy and made with cashew and coconut and is perfect for those who want to try a flavoursome curry that isn’t hot. The latter is a spicy tomato based curry bursting with flavours with roasted coriander seeds, fresh grated coconut and dried red chillies. Very delicious but quite fiery. The curries go really well with rice or parathas. The Malabar Parathas, a multi-layered bread is a must try.
For dessert, I opted for the Pal Payasam, a rich rice pudding flavoured with jaggery and full of nuts. The Banana dosas ordered by my friends were also good – cute little pancakes made with bananas and with a hint of cardamom.
The restaurant is definitely one of the best valued placed I have eaten at. For the prices, the potions are pretty large and of great taste. Service can be a little patchy due to their being not enough waiters given the number of diners and the pink walls can be a little hard to get accustomed to. But, the restaurant is definitely a must try for those that like Indian cuisine and want to try out what Southern India offers since the quality and choice offered here is at par with what’s made locally, just modified a bit to make them more palatable for those less tolerant to chillies!