The city can now really boast of a variety of south Indian fare from each of its states, be it Andhra Pradesh, Kerala or Chennai. While we always had college hangouts dishing out the regular Idli-Vada-Dosa in an assembly line to ever-hungry crowds on FC Road. Then, last year we got up-scale southern comfort vegetarian options as well and now, we have the mid-range in the trilogy with Dakshinayan.
Mumbai and Ahmedabad’s Dakshinayan eatery serves more than traditional versions of our neighbourhood vegetarian eatery’s snack menu. We didn’t go the regular route and instead tried something different, the Paniyaram (Rs 85). These were round, deep-fried rice vadas with a deep-brown crisp exterior and a warm centre. A nice, quick starter that went well with our small glass of not-overly-spiced buttermilk (Rs 40).
Kicked, we decided to go a little overboard and try one thing from each segment. The Set Uttapam (Rs 120) was a plate of three uttapams. The onion uttapam went great with the piping hot bowl of rasam, while the tomato one was a nice healthy combination with the chunky, vegetable-laden sambar. The onion-capsicum one, with a hint of cheese, was perfect just by itself.
Next came our Spring Dosa (Rs 125). Delightful and with a very generous portion of crisp, fresh dosa filled with a tangy tomato-onion mix and heavily garnished with grated cheese. There is something about a regular processed cheese garnish that takes us back to our college days and this one was definitely yummy nostalgia all the way.
Of course, we were stuffed but we couldn’t resist trying the rice. So, we went with a Tamarind Rice (Rs 110) and a Bisibelle (Rs 110). Both are generous, steaming bowls accompanied by a crisp, distinctly Southern papad. The tamarind rice was a flavourful mix of sour and spice, with each individual grain standing out. Our Bissibelle’s flavour and texture took us back to a meal we had at our friend’s Chennai home straight from his grand-mother’s kitchen. The chunkily chopped vegetables, generously mixed into the rice and lentil mixture that was the texture of what we know better as khichidi, is basic but delicious comfort food. Perfect for a rain-drenched evening. Dakshinayan is full of families enjoying their evening meal out. With its very reasonably priced dishes, we can so see why it’s already a favourite.