Masala Dosa is another restaurant that I’ve been hearing about for ages but haven’t had a chance to check it out. My opportunity came unexpectedly last night, after attending a presentation on GM foods at Portobello restaurant (a vegetarian restaurant if you’re looking for one) in Long Street, I took a wander up Long Street to see what’s new and happening. I happened to spot Masala Dosa just as the first hunger pangs kicked in, so I stepped inside. The place was quite full but there were 2 small tables available so I made myself comfortable.
I really liked the decor (click images below to enlarge). It’s modern and clean with Indian icons to give it the Indian feel. There are fake Bollywood posters advertising menu items, there are 2 giant Indian ‘dolls’ which have to be seen to be believed and a mural adds the final touch. The bathroom was amazing, not like the loo at Kyoto Sushi Garden, just very interesting. On the ceiling of the washroom is an upside down ‘sacred cow’ sculpture with a light inside. The toilet itself is painted bright pink and the window has a picture frame around it. The whole place is very creative, I love it.
The menu is very simple, either you have a salad, or a dosa or a selection of their curries with rice. The cuisine is South Indian as opposed to the Tikkas and Rogan Josh, etc you would see on the menu at North Indian restaurants. You are probably wondering what a dosa is by now. Well it’s a ‘crepe’ made with crushed rice and lentils. It’s very light and looks like a long tube when they serve it to you rolled up. It comes with a ramekin of your choice of curry. None of them are hot, you have to order your chilli separately. We tried the Aromatic Chicken Dosa (R38) and the Lamb Dosa (R42), the chilli paste was an extra R4.
I preferred the lamb as I thought it had stronger flavours, but they were both very good. The dosa also comes with some sambles like coconut paste and some dhal. The table next to us ordered the curry selection which consisted of 5 ramekins, each with a different curry (not the same as the ones served with the dosas).
What I liked about Masala Dosa is that it’s a low stress dining experience. The place is small so if you need service you can just call someone over. The menu us short and to the point, you’re either having 1 of the 3 salads or a dosa with one of 5 fillings or the curry selection. The wine list is likewise really short, with maybe 5 options. I drank house red by the glass which wasn’t bad and cost R20 per glass. At the end the bill is not huge and you don’t feel stuffed either as the portion sizes are just right.
You need to try this place at least once to check out the funky decor and the interesting cuisine. There are a number of reasons why you would return, but either way, you’ll never regret your first visit.
167 Long Street
021 424 6772
Dax you’re a star. I am planning a birthday dinner and needed an honest opinion! Thanks a mil! See you soon!
My date was keen to try it so we went in but left after a few minutes – the tables are so tiny and close together that there is just no privacy!
Yes, it is tiny. If you are the kind of couple that stares into each other’s eyes and says very little, you should be ok. But if you want to have private conversation you’ll have more difficulty.
I remember going there about a year ago and the one memory I have is, the table was big enough to fit the two trays that the food was served on! The trays contain the dosa and the empty space on the tray is used to design some sort of spices tatoo (a stencil but spices are used)
There was no space for our drinks, the salad bowls, the basket with the nuts stuff or whatever snacks inside it.
I totally agree with you Lauren C. Very squashed and no privacy nor space for anything other than the food trays.
I loved the green salad and the dressing – the dosa was nothing wonderful at all. The lassi I ordered is much tastier if you have it at Vintage India.
I’ve eaten at Masala Dosa twice in the past couple of months. I’ve been avoiding it after a tasteless experience a couple of years ago.
The first time I went back I had to be convinced to go. And what a wonderful eating experience! I was so impressed. Portions are just right — I felt full but not stuffed. Had the dosa with potatoes. Delicious. Coconut sambal is also delicious.
Went again last Thursday. Felt sorry for them because it was empty when we got there. But by 8pm it was completely full and buzzing. This time had the dosa with beans — very delicious! We also had the raw salad with toasted seeds and an incredible green dressing.
Prices are very reasonable and service delightful.
The Sea Point branch has closed down. No wonder — that building it was in is hideous (opp the school on Main Rd). The building should never have been allowed to be built in Sea Point. Every cafe in that building has gone out of business, no doubt because no-one wants to be in that alienating space.