177 High Street North
London E12 6PQ
Masala Dosa: £2.65
Channa Bhattura: £2.90
Thattukada was packed out on a sunny Saturday afternoon, so I strolled a little further up East Ham's High Street to the non-vegetarian Chennai Dosa (there is a pure-veg version on the same street). One of a small chain of South Indian restaurants scattered across the areas of London and the South-East with enough South Indians to make a business profitable, Chennai Dosa offers up cheap-n-cheerful South Indian snacks and meals.
I ordered the masala dosa (pancake containing spiced and mashed potatoes and onions), because I love masala dosas, and the channa bhattura (chickpea curry and puffy fried bread) because I had read about it on Chowhound. The dosa, comically larger than the metal tray it was flopped on, was a disappointment. While the pancake was springy and soaked up the coconut, chickpea and chilli sauces (which were fresh and full of flavour), the potato and onion mixture was bland and too smooth. Luckily for me, there was not very much of the mixture, so I quickly finished it and moved onto the channa bhattura.
Although the bhattura was oily, it was piping hot and clearly had just come from whatever contraption is used to make this outsized disc. The top of the bread was full of thin-skinned air bubbles with the thicker layer underneath. Like everyone else in the restaurant, I was eating with my hands, tearing off small chunks of dough to dip into the coconut-y chickpea curry, which was made with fresh chickpeas and plenty of chillies and contained all the flavours that the masala dosa had lacked.
For a quick and tasty lunch or dinner, Chennai Dosa is good value and serves up freshly made food. While the masala dosa was a disappointment, the channa bhattura ensured that my schlep out to East Ham had not been in vain.