Dosa n Chutney
7 January 2022: Dosa n Chutney: A dosa New Year cuzza
2022 marks the 10th year of this blog's curry endeavours. It was in January 2012 that we first wrote our review of Mirch Masala. Despite a short hiatus, Tom no longer contributing, and a few grey hairs, we're still going strong having sampled well over a hundred different London curry restaurants and take aways in the last decade.
In that time, we've seen restaurants come and go, whilst others, particularly in our beloved Tooting, go from strength to strength. One Tooting restaurant, also first reviewed back in 2012, has been (naively) overlooked by us ever since, despite an enjoyable, if sweaty, August visit. So, what better occasion than the 10th anniversary to return to a Tooting stalwart which has just joined its local rivals Lahore Karahi, Jaffna House and Mirch Masala in having a makeover.
On this occasion I was joined by Spellins of previous blog outings, and, having enjoyed it so much (and with Vijaya Krishna fully booked), returned twice in a week with another co-diner in the form of the inimitable Joe Luetchford.
With two visits to kick off the New Year with, here's our comprehensive review of the updated Dosa n Chutney ('e' now included in the name).
It's fair to say the original Dosa n Chutny had a fairly functional interior. Bright lighting and a mirrored wall breathed a little more life into the modest surrounds, but it wasn't a notably exciting environment. Now, with an 'e' now added to the name for grammatical accuracy, Dosa n Chutney benefits from a fresh lick of paint, new furniture and ceiling greenery that all add much needed colour to proceedings. The palette choices are typically bright and not likely to grace the standard British living room, but serve to give the dining space energy and character. The mirrored wall and accompanying luminescence remain, but they're boosted by shiny new tables and bold, mustard yellow paint on the walls. The back wall is also adorned in an Ikea Kallax style shelving unit replete with hanging bells that add a memorable feature to what is a tastful and original refurb.
Starters and sides
Idly Vada Sambar
Lamb Pepper Fry
The food here is south Indian, offering a range of different dishes that might be unfamiliar to those who frequent typical British curry houses. And it's their loss. Idly, vada, kothu, uthappam and, of course, dosa all grace the menu.
Like at neighbouring Radha Krishna Bhavan, the vada and ildy here are not to be missed, in fact they're probably better. The sambar vada in particular embodies all the coconut, curry leaf and mustard seed flavours of south India with its lentil donuts swimming in a bowl of deliciously light sambar broth. The idly vada sambar conversely comes with the idly and vada served on the side next to a range of coconut and chili dips and sambar, but are equally reminiscent of the restaurants roots.
Accompanying these dishes were the more unusual dishes of the prawn fry, lamb pepper fry and paneer majestic. All three were served, as the names suggest, without sauce, but still packed oceans of flavour. The prawn fry pictures don't do the juicy meat prawns with their crispy fried edges justice. These delectable bites came served with crunchy fried curry leaves and a light mint chilli dip that complimented them well. The paneer majestic was just that with the appearance of halloumi fries but with a more oriental, tangy coating. The moist cheese was offset nicely with an added crunch from the peanut masala on top.
The lamb pepper fry was also well worth eulogising about. A generous portion of meat in a rich fiery sauce, this is not for the faint hearted, but equally not to be missed.
Finally, with the mains came a pair of parota - one standard (round and with fluffier layers) and the veechu which came in a folded square and had a denser, doughier texture as a result.
All in all it was an excellent and exciting array of dishes to start things off here, and we didn't even get to the namesake dosas. You have to try these.
Chettinad Fish Curry
Special Prawn Curry
For the mains it was more of the same evocative flavours from the shores of the Indian ocean. The two seafood curries - the chettinad fish and special prawn curries - really brought the chilli and coconut to the party with similar creamy sauces. Both has a fiery, almost Thai red curry edge, but with sweet soft mango in amongst the prawn.
The lamb saag was equally creamy with a very rich and slightly bitter spinach sauce. More unique than the typical offering, and with beautifully tender meat, it was also very enjoyable.
The two vegetarian dishes were also very good, with the tadka daal coming in the thicker texture that I prefer and with a noticeable garlic aroma, whilst the channa batura was a delightful chickpea curry served with a puffed puri bread. A nuttier and more textured sauce than most chickpea curries set it apart and unsparing helpings made it all the more satisfying.
As with the starters and sides, the main dishes here are equally pleasurable and not to be missed.
With the greatest respect to the very youthful waiting staff, they were a little bit muddled on our first visit. Food arrived more or less promptly, but repeated questions of whether we were waiting on anything else didn't fill us with confidence it would. A long wait for our Kingfishers to begin with and the frequent change of waiter summed it up. Fortunately, the second visit saw a marked improvement, but slightly better organisation probably needed on busy Saturdays.
Value for money
With such great food and all dishes priced under £10 (and most under £8) it's hard to overlook the value on offer here. Spoilt for choice, costs can mount up if you get too excited with the ordering, and Kingfisher on draught (rather than BYOB) can add a few pounds, but all in all you won't break the bank. And, with dosas for under £6, you could easily have a very good value lunch.
I can't believe I've overlooked Dosa n Chutney for all these years. Having enjoyed our first visit, it's criminal that I hadn't returned for so long. Hopefully, two visits in as many weekends somewhat make up for my prolonged absence, but there's no doubt I'll be returning again sooner than the 2030s.
And you should visit too. It's yet another great restaurant serving exciting and good value food in Tooting and now with it's updated decor there is no excuse.
It's a high scoring 38 for Dosa n Chutney once again!
Read our review of nearby Radha Krishna Bhavan here
Address: 68 Tooting High St, London SW17 0RN
Cuisine: South Indian
Alcohol Policy: Licensed
Summary: Indian BBQ and sports bars in the heart of The City