Last Saturday, six excited eaters gathered for a relatively late lunch at the Chennai Dosa in Wembley. I had heard of a particularly large dosa, a family dosa, that one could order there to feed quite a large group. Being ridiculously excited about this kind of large format eating, I had organised a group to tackle one. Thank you, Jen, Nayan, Rahul, Wen, and Mr Noodles for coming along!
It being a late lunch, we were absolutely starving. To quieten our stomachs, we started with a few of the smaller dishes from the menu. Gobi Manchurian (dry) (£2.99) was battered cauliflower florets tossed in a spicy, thick, cornstarchy sauce with onions and peppers. It’s a good example of Indian-Chinese food and it was delicious!
The Chilli Paneer (£3.45) was luridly coloured chunks of paneer again tossed in a thick sauce with onions and peppers. We weren’t able to differentiate between this sauce and the previous but luckily it was tasty.
A Babycorn Pepper fry (£2.99) again looked very similar but for some reason, the battered and fried babycorn were the best. I think it was something to do with the firm texture of the miniature corn with the batter.
The 14 Mini Idly with Sambar (£2.60) were indeed miniature and the perfect way to try the steamed pillowy rice cakes without filling up too much. I thought they were pretty good and I loved the sambar (not too sweet, not too thin) they were served with.
And just when I was thinking of ordering more food, a frenzy of activity around our table distracted us all. Our main event was coming and our dishes were being cleared to make room for it. A platter of chutneys was set down. While normally I’m not particularly fussed with coconut chutneys, I was shoving this white one down – we all were and it was the only one we finished that afternoon.
And this was the Family Dosa, all six feet of it (£9.99).
Six feet! Sadly, it had collapsed a bit on its journey from the kitchen to the far end of the restaurant where we were sitting. Still, that didn’t affect its flavour and crispness. I guess an uneven temperature under the cooking surface caused the uneven hue of the dosa; I like to think of it as ranging from rare to well-done – something for everyone! It was a very tasty dosa indeed with plenty of ghee and two dishes of potato masala to go along with it. The conversation went quiet a bit as we tucked it and somehow we managed to finish almost all of it. (If you want more views of the beast, they’re available here!)
Drinks made up the majority of the bill: a salty lassi, a couple of mango lassis and countless sweet lime drinks pushed the grand total to £47.73. Including service, that worked out to a little less than £9 a head – a serious bargain! Next time, perhaps we’ll tackle their family sized bhatura (a deep fried bread) with the family sized dish of channa (chickpeas)!
3 Ealing Road
Middlesex HA0 2AA
They have a few branches and while we visited a Pure Veg restaurant, they have others that do serve meat. One of them was right next door to the one at which we ate.