If you live in, or have visited, London and know about this already, please move on down to the previous posts and comment on them. Or not.

But for those of you do live in the city, and like me are clueless enough not to have heard of this place, or are going to be visiting the city and stand a chance of feeling home-sick for some really good, as-authentic-as-you-can-get-outside-India food, I have two words for you:

Chennai Dosa

I can only vouch for the Wembley branch, but holy purple pearls, can I vouch for it. It was easily the best non-homemade South Indian food I've eaten in this country, and heck, one of the better ones I've even eaten anywhere upwards of the Vindhyas. And it's cheap, ridiculously so. And most importantly, it introduced me to a whole new sub-genre of food (again, if this is old news, some of us are slow, ok? Ok) : South-Indian-Chinese.

That's right. Chilly Fried Idlis, baby. Lots of ajinomoto and too much colour, but oh so brilliantly good.

Go (if you haven't). And then come thank me. One shall accept all gratitude with due graciousness.


Veena said...

My theory is that Chennai Dosa caters more to the north of the Vindhyas palate. For those used to food South of the Vindhyas, Saravan Bhavan (the E Ham branch) works much better.

??! said...

Ah, this is true. And I must go that outlet now.

Space Bar said...

now fess up: you put those purple pearls in there just so i'd comment, yes?

Vaudevillian said...

refrained myself from Wembley since eternity. looks like I might just have a good enough reason now.

DewdropDream said...

Does this mean you're in London currently? :D

I have been there... fairly good food...yet to try Saravana Bhavan... but honestly, none of them really match up IMHO.Oh please do NOT go to Woodlands near Piccadilly Circus... atrocious place/food/service.

Shyam said...

er... I've been to the East Ham Saravana Bhavan. It was ok. Just.

Havent been to Chennai Dosa but it's been on my "gotta do" list for bloody ages! *sigh*

Renovatio said...

Dood, the best thali I've ever had was in Dubai. Best best best best best ever.

??! said...

And you love me for it, don't you?

It's an....interesting place to visit. Wembley that is.

Well, not compared to proper homemade stuff. But it's a stopgap. And thanks for the heads-up.

Ahh, so it's true. I have heard conflicting reports.

Hey, the best Ethiopian food I've eaten was in Paris of all places, so I can quite understand that.

Shefaly said...

Agree with Veena there although I am technically 'north of the Vindhyas' but have deep connections with the South so am familiar with 'the real thing' so to speak. Reaching E Ham or Wembley however are both a test of patience for me and I never go unescorted (so basically, never). So I wait for India trips or try to con genuine Southie friends to cook for me. Of late, been making own stuff too. Pretty good but ROI very low due to all the effort. :-/

Veena said...

??!: Good Ethiopian food in Paris? It wouldn't be a hole in the wall place somewhere in the Latin Quarter would it?

choxbox said...


lived in ldn for 8 yrs and chennai dosa was often the place we landed up for sunday breakfast. it is awesome food, crazily inexpensive and yes i've had the fried baby idlis :)

??! said...

Well, if it's a trek, it's probably not going to match up to expectations. You'd be better off getting your friends to make some for you, because, as you note, if you're cooking just for yourself, it is quite a time-soak.

Nuh-uh. It was this place. Four tables, very laidback owner, just a dozen dishes on menu, great stuff.

Of course, this was two years ago.

Hello hello.

Ahh the breakfast buffet. You just had to do that, na? My keyboard glares at you. It does not appreciate my drool.

Veena said...

??!: Ok, same place I was thinking. We went this Feb and agree - bestest Ethiopian food in Europe. (that isn't saying much as Ethiopian food in the States is much much better)

Talking of which, you should go try this Demera place in Hammersmith and tell us all about it. (Feanor has been looking for a guinea pig to go check out the place and I am volunteering you)

Mudra said...

Never had Chilly Fried Idlis in INDIA?! What have you been doing?!

Or for that matter, Schezwan Dosa...

km said...

And it's cheap, ridiculously so.What price are we talking about here?

??! said...

Oh yay, you've eaten there too. Now I know it wasn't just me. Can tell everybody who goes on about the ones on Caledonian Road (which fluctuate quite a bit in quality).

And Hammersmith huh? Dekhenge.

Did you not read the part about one being slow? What, you want me to affirm it in big capital pink font?

£3 for an 12-dish breakfast buffet, £4 for lunch buffet, and £3 for mains. In London.

km said...

4 pounds = 14 million US dollars or something, right?

DewdropDream said...

That IS cheap... I went there the day I landed and for a newbie the prices seemed bloody high... the only thing that stops me from going now is that Wembley is too frikkin far from work AND home...

varali said...

Chennai Dosa! I owe my life to it. Especially to the breakfast buffet which opened just about when I woke up, and was priced oh-so-perfectly for a broke and starving student. On 3.50 I ate 2 dosas, countless idlis, obscene quantities of pongal, then somehow staggered into the tube back home. Ah, bliss!

On the other hand, there is Sagar in Hammersmith which I detest. Overpriced, underspiced and just all wrong.