Chennai Dosa, Tooting, London
One of the branches of this dosa chain; been years on my list to try.
The potato and vegetable filling was a little sloppily spread within the special onion rava masala dosa, but it was very hard to argue with the flavour, lightly but surely spiced, no traces of greasiness, the potato soft but not grainy (compare with the texture mashed potatoes at fancier places that charge 5-10x!). Basic unfussy chutneys -- coconut, red (tomato?), green (chilli/coriander if I'm right) -- and a medium thick sambhar, all synergising nicely and naturally with the dosa. Texture of the dosa itself was great -- crisp, ever so slightly sticky, and delicately thin. £3 for a good sized serving.
Incidentally, noticed that Saravana Bhavan has a branch nearby; probably old news to many. How does it compare with the East Ham branch?
P.S. Anyone been to Diana, the Afghan restaurant nearby?
Very satisfying vegetarian dum biryani (weekend special) -- a clovey dry mixed vegetable side dish, thick creamy raita, an nutty daal with cabbage and flavoursome rice, with even gentle spicing and chilli heat.
OTOH, found the southern indian thali at Saravana Bhavan average. Standouts might have been the mango chutney perfumed with rose that synergised well with the coconut chutney and raita. Other items were fine but unexceptional -- a dry cabbage witth mustard seed, a decent soury sambhar, thinnish daal, a medium to light lemon or lime achaar (nothing particularly sour or spicy). Short grained rice seemed plain even for rice, the poori was somewhat greasy.
Among the sweets, the pista barfi was probably the best of the lot, pretty solid with a sweet and slightly tangy and caramel-ish flavour, although it was good not great. Ladoo was greasy and the oily taste wasn't particularly pleasant, and a pressed almond paste (badam halwa?) was pleasant but nothing particularly special
This sounds like a promising dosa. The Chennai Dosa branch in West Croydon is also very good (or was. I haven't eaten there in years so I can't say anymore, but it's still very well renowned in the South London Asian community.)
I don't know about the Tooting branch, but the East Ham one is nothing to write home about. Their iddly sambar was pretty good, but their masala dosa was so bad that I doubt I'll ever go back. Vasanta Bhavan's still solid over there though.
Photos from a recent dinner at the West Croydon Chennai Dosa: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kake_pugh/tags/chennaidosacroydon/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/37996583...
I was preoccupied by the company so couldn't pay too much attention to the food, but I do not remember being disappointed.