Last updated: February 07, 2024
It’s rare to get home from a restaurant late on a Saturday night after a big meal and a few glasses of wine and want to immediately open my laptop to write out my experience.
Dosa Kitchen tucked away down a back alley off Osbourne Road in Newcastle’s Jesmond, has provided a rare enlightenment to someone who eats out maybe three times a week – truly authentic flavours that make the mouth salivate with every spoonful of deliciously spiced fragrant curry.
This ‘South Indian canteen’ is a lovely welcoming restaurant with stylish but underatated interiors, and while there might not be the Instagram backdrops or floral installations we’re so used to seeing in new restaurants these days, Dosa Kitchen lets its food do the talking – food that’s unlike anything I’ve tasted before.
Originally a pop-up restaurant in the west end of Newcastle, Dosa Kitchen is the creation of Mathen Ganesan and Sudharsan Murugavel – two passionate foodies wanting to share the true flavours of India to its North East community.
Our waiters are all clued up when it comes to the menu – enthusiastically explaining each section and what’s best to order.
We start with a bottle of Vega Badenes Tempranillo – a light and fruity house red wine which will go well with the spices. Starters include the onion ragi pakora – a common side dish in India where the onions are deep fried into fritters, cooked with curry leaves and coriander. We also try chilli chicken – a Madras staple where the chicken is tossed in the pan and coated in an irresistible chilli mix of addictive spices. A plate of chunky king prawns better known as prawn varuval is our favourite – the prawns are marinated in a rich spicy blend of coriander, turmeric, tamarind and cumin with a hint of sweetness through the heat.
Now, in all the years I’ve eaten curry, I’ve never tried a dosa.. until now. Dosas are a centuries old South Indian street food similar to a savoury crepe, but made of black gram (lentils) and rice flour. They’re eaten any time of the day and can be filled with all kinds of delicious ingredients. We tear off the dosa with our hands, scooping up the chunky delightful filling of potato masala inside and dunking it in the sauces provided – sambhar, coconut chutney and tomato chutney. The sambhar, a dal made with vegetables, tamarind and a special blend of spices stands out and works beautifully with the crepe like texture of the dosas, which are so light, you can eat A LOT of these!
Making dosas is a time consuming process as the fermention process takes some time and it’s a real skill to get the batter just the right consistency. If you’re keen to try, Sud serves his dosas at the Jesmond Food Market on Armstrong Bridge in Jesmond every first and third Sunday of the month.
Our main courses arrive next – a nice selection of signature dishes so that we get to try a range of flavours and levels of spice! Vinnie our waiter talks us through each dish and is more than happy to chat with us about must-visit destinations to visit in India too – ‘The Maldives of India’ is most definitely on our list!
Leaving us to savour the flavours of the gorgeous aromatic dishes, we noticed a constant stream of customers into Dosa Kitchen – the restaurant clearly has a loyal Indian following which as Sudharsan explained, is a definite testament to just how authentic Dosa cuisine is!
Prawn Thengapal Kozhambu made with coconut milk has a beautiful sweet sour flavour courtesy of the tamarind and we polished this off even before moving onto the other dishes. We also loved the Chicken Chettinad Masala which I’ve never tried before. The sauce is rich and peppery owing to a dry roasted chettinad spice blend – which is a unique blend indigenous to the Chettinad region of Southern India – more specifically, Tamil Nadu. Paneer (which has to be the best meat substitute in my book), arrived roasted in a Thokku Masala sauce – rich, spicy and tomato based with incredible depth of flavour and waves of heat through the gravy.
With the ingredients sourced directly from local communities in India, the Dosa Kitchen experience is very much a true taste of Southern India. Here, you won’t find additives, unnaturally coloured curries, or dishes which have been adapted for the ‘western’ palate. Just a fantastic chef and a foodie obsessed businessman creating unforgettable food in the heart of Jesmond. Book your table now.