Dosa Hut not about the decor

Don’t be fooled by the decor of the Dosa Hut in Fordsburg.

It’s ill-lit, with awkward pillars, shiny tiles and the walls are painted mauve and lime green. But what you’re really here for is the dosa—a kind of roti particular to the south of India.

All the action takes place right by the door on a large, smoking flat-top.

The chef pours a ladle of dosa mix (fermented, pulverised rice and gram dhal) on to the blackened surface and then neatens and skims it into a large oval. Immediately he’s coaxing it off the surface with a scraper, the underside now a delicate brown. He turns it over, spoons on the filling and rolls it up. Then he cleans the surface amid a cloud of steam and begins again.

There’s not as much filling as you’d think—it’s not like a wrap—but the dosa is half as long as your arm.

It arrives at the table perched on a steel tray with little compartments for a coconut chutney, a few slices of atchar and sambhar, a hot, spicy dhal soup with tamarind, tomato and potato.

The dosa itself has a pleasing sourness and is so thin it almost dissolves in your mouth.

I had the most popular choice—the marsala (R25), which is roughly mashed potato, mildly
spiced with mustard seeds and turmeric. You can also order it filled with chicken or mutton, or even cheese and onion.

Other good things are the breyani, both the vegetable and the fish, which comes with a towering cone of basmati, or the thakkali, a sour tomato soup.

The dining room seems to be perpetually busy with families—prams parked between chairs—young couples, or tables populated entirely by men.

There’s no alcohol on the menu, but there is lassi and an excellent mint and lemon cold drink.

The Dosa Hut, 48 Central Road, Fordsburg

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