Friday, 18 February 2011

Dosa Express, Withington, Manchester

A new place in my quest for South Indian food in the North. Dosa Express wasn't on my radar when I posted on this subject a few weeks ago, and I can't recall how I discovered it earlier this week (must have been from obsessively googling 'south indian food dosa Manchester' during a bored moment). But discover it I did, and I was immediately tempted as it seemed to be the kind of casual place you could pop in for a cheap bite on your own, rather than a more full on dinner with wine and mates or a date kind of place. Exactly what I was after this evening, so I headed on over for an early tea.

As I suspected it's a very no frills type of place, certainly not one for a first date. A couple of other tables were occupied despite the early hour. I ordered a portion of Medhu Vada and the chicken meal special, with a can of 7-up and a bottle of water to wash it down. Yes, a bottle of water. The first thing I do in pretty much any restaurant is ask for a glass or jug of finest corporation pop, fresh from the tap, but I had already spotted a sign on the wall saying 'No tap water for hygiene reasons, bottled water 50p' and couldn't be bothered arguing. Weird. I normally get a bee in my bonnet about the whole refusal to serve tap water thing that some restaurants still do, as it's often an excuse to sell you the bottled stuff at a ridiculous mark-up. At 50p they're hardly going to be raking it in though. Perhaps there really is a 'hygiene reason'. What are they getting from the taps? Is it unusually filthy in this part of Manchester? Are they importing it from Chennai for authenticity? What about the food then? Have they washed the salad in bottled water? I certainly hope so if I can't drink the stuff from the tap for 'hygiene reasons'.

Sorry, rant over. Here's the food:

Vada, chutney's and sambar

Vada are spiced, doughnut shaped fritters made from lentil flour. When freshly fried they can be very nice, and when pre-fried, left to cool then warmed up in a microwave they can be stodgy and horrid. Fortunately these were in the former group, nice crispy edges and a soft centre. They were a bit underspiced (chilli, mustard seeds, curry leaves, black pepper, onions are the usual suspects) but pleasant to eat with the accompanying chutney's (coconut, coriander, not sure about the orange one) and sambar.

Chicken gravy, rice, poppadum, salad

Chicken curry/gravy close-up

The highlight of the meal was the chicken curry (or gravy as it's sometimes known at South Indian places). The other components of the meal special (poppadum, salad, rice) were ok but the curry itself was excellent. It had a real depth of flavour, with cardamom and cloves being particularly prominent, and a slow building background chilli heat that had me shovelling in rice to cool the fire. Really good stuff.

The bill came to £7.26 including a 20% discount on food. I think the discount was because it was before 6pm, this was only mentioned at the till and didn't seem to be advertised anywhere in the restaurant. Service was efficient but dour until I was about to leave when the waitress came over all smiley. Must have been glad to see the back of me.

Overall I liked Dosa Express. The food is good and I'll be going back to try the dosai and the mutton curries. The no tap water thing is a little strange, but they're hardly profiteering on the bottled stuff so I can live with that.


19 Copson Street
M20 3HE

They also have another branch in Derby.

DosaXpress on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Very excited to find a proper South Indian restaurant here in Manchester with varieties of Dosa´s,Idly,Chicken and mutton curries. I have visited with my friends and really nice authentic South Indian food. The foods are delicious and really good value for money. Will come back again.

Dave said...

Thanks for the comment, have you been to Sindhoor??

Anonymous said...

Great post. I'm so curious to find out how the dosas are there! Will have to check it out. On a side note, if you're ever looking for some home-style Indian food in Manchester, we'd love to have you at our supper club :). Info:

Ps. Thanks so much for putting my site on your blogroll.

Dave said...

Cheers. Haven't tried any yet, but I love reading the recipes on your site. The quick chicken curry is top of my list to cook. Can't make it in March but hope to get to the supper club maybe April/May..

Anonymous said...

don't go here! soggy and over-spicy bhajis, soggy chips, hardly any meat in the curries. Took over an hour for a takeaway we took ours back. don't bother

Dave said...

Anon - it's a South Indian place, specialising in South Indian food. Chips and bhajis are not really what they're about. Curries with not much meat are the norm, hence why they're called gravies. It's not really a meat based cuisine, the gravies are more like sauces for seasoned rices, to be served with chutneys and the like. If you just want regular curry house stuff why not just order from a regular curry house.

Anonymous said...

Great food especially the appam with curry is simply mouthwatering.dosa express will be every persons choice.
Dosa express is my favorite.

Kit ward cheshire said...

Just had my first dosa , very nice , fantastic sauces Very filling will have to wait a while until I can take on the main course or have I just had it ? will enjoy working through the menu over the next few months cheers

Kit ward cheshire said...

Me again, made room for main couse mutton chettinad with tamarind rice thought the home made rice the wife makes was the best , sorry dear just lost top rice spot, can't wait for my next visit top class .!

Dave said...

Hi Kit, glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for commenting.

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