Banana Leaves From Bandra

South Indian food with a cosmopolitan twist.

Started by Sanjay Narang of Not Just Jazz By The Bay, Just Around The Corner and the more recent Trim With Taste fame, Dosa Diner breathes innovativeness. The food available can be best described as South Indian with a cosmopolitan twist. In fact, another branch has recently opened at Lokhandwala in Andheri.

Tucked away in the heart of Bandra, the place is inviting though small (you could with great difficulty squeeze in perhaps fifty people). In fact the best way to recognize the joint is to keep a watch out for a huge banana leaf proudly proclaiming "Dosa Diner". The popularity of this place is evident from the cues outside during both lunchtime and dinnertime, especially on weekends.

Done up with a nice creamy beige décor, the place has a cozy feel to it. You can even look into the kitchen through a huge glass window and watch the chefs at work. Well lit, the service is generally good, though it tends to get a little lax during peak hours.

Mini Idlis, Dahi Vadas and Rasam are among the starters offered. Try the Rasam out, it's fiery in a rather nice manner. Listed among the nibbles, Medu Vadas and Chicken Idlis are strictly okay. However the Curd Rice is excellent.

Highly recommended are the Appams along with the Chicken/Mutton/Vegetable stew - besides being extremely filling, it's not too spicy. You can even create your own dosa. First select the type of dosa you want - choices include Plain, Ghee, Mysore, Neer, etc - then choose a filling from the multitude available. Incidentally, the Neer Dosa is amazing!

While both the Egg Masala and the Mushroom Masala are pretty good, the Vegetable Balti is safely avoidable. Among the non-vegetarian fillings available, Chicken Tandoori and Prawn Malabar are excellent, though the Peking Prawn suffers from a surfeit of salt.

Uttappams are available in a variety of styles - plain, cheese, tomato, chilly and cheese, chilly and paneer. There's even a Uttappam Platter available for those who can't make up their minds…

And if you're in the mood for a Thali, no need to fret. Dosa Diner provides excellent Thalis containing everything from Pulao to Pickle. The vegetarian one costs Rs. 80 and the non-vegetarian version costs Rs. 120. Extra servings are available as well.

For dessert, definitely try either (or both!) the Sheera or the Gulab Jaamun which are mouthwatering. Beverages include the usual mineral water and soft drinks. Don't forget the South Indian Chaas (utterly refreshing and perfect for a hot day) which comes in a huge glass. Even the filter coffee is quite good.

Dosa Diner is ideal as a meeting place for friends to catch up on old times. On the whole, the food is filling and very good. Most of the portions are fairly generous. Nothing is too expensive. Most dishes range from Rs. 30 to Rs. 80, the most expensive dish being the Thalis. In fact, a meal for two shouldn't cost more than 300 bucks in all. If you're a South Indian food freak you'll love this place, more so if you don't mind experimenting with your cuisine.

This article was first published on 27 Sep 2000.