By John Fraser
I have never been to India, apart from a refuelling stop (the plane, not me) at what was then Bombay airport. So what do I know about Indian food?
Well, I do know it is complex, incredibly varied and often magnificent.
Fortunately, my sari-swinging Indian chum had spotted that an offshoot of the Fordsburg-based Dosa Hut had opened in Fourways, and she was determined to force-feed me my first-ever dose-a dosa. (A dosa is a crispy pancake-like wrap).
She knows her Indian food and had chosen well. This was the real thing.
The place displayed a few teething pains, but the food was brill.
I had a chicken dosa, which was a bit lacking in chicken, but which had all the right flavours, with three dipping sauces and a fiery kick. A baptism of fire, but in a nice, lip-smacking way.
Our group also tried a masala dosa, a superb bean curry, and an excellent veggie biriani. We each finished with a very small but very, very enjoyable kulfi.
The next table was devouring a bunny-chow each, the Durban delight which consists of half a loaf, hollowed out and filled with curry (which is what we ignorant westerners call an Indian dish with a gravy).
And then I ordered another six dishes to take-away. With rotis, which were superb.
The food, then, was authentic, excellent, and it was superb value for money. Five out of five on the yum scale.
What wasn’t great? The waiter was slow, unanimated, unwelcoming and awful. Not that I blamed him. He had clearly received little training, and the management seemed to be so obsessed with fitting out the new vast restaurant that they had given scant attention to trivial things…like customer satisfaction.
Of great personal sadness, however, was the inadequacy of the wine list. When I say inadequate, it is an understatement. There was no wine list.
The place is halaal. Booze-free. No wine, no beer. The waiter mumbled something about the place next door selling alcohol, but I decided that as I was driving anyway, I would opt for water.
For me, this is a big failing. I have no wish to force anyone to partake of the nectar of the Gods (my God anyway), but I resent their insistence that their prophet should dictate whether or not I enjoy a beer with my curry.
When I return – and I shall – I will order a massive tonic water, with ice and lemon.
You may already have guessed what I will be carrying in the flask in my top pocket.
Rating: I give it 4*
Key to the Ratings….
1* Dog food is nicer
2*. Cat food is nicer
3*. Not bad if Woolworths is sold out of ready meals.
4*. I like it
5*. I love it. Not to be missed.