19 Copson St.
Manchester M20 3HE
Dosa Meal Deal (masala dosa, idli, medhu vada): £4.99
Salt lassi: £1.49
10% student discount available.
Dosa Xpress is, by my count, Manchester's fourth specifically South Indian restaurant (the other three being Sindhoor in Burnage, Lily's Vegetarian in Ashton-under-Lyne and Lotus in Northenden). I'm crossing my fingers that is the the beginning of a food trend.
Dosa Xpress has a sister restaurant in Derby, which, if its Withington location is anything to go by, is well worth the visit. My friend Al and I both went for the very reasonably priced Dosa Meal Deal, which included a masala dosa (thin pancake containing spicy mashed potatoes), idli (a steamed thick rice cake), medhu vada (a ring of fried lentil dough and spices with a doughnut-like consistency) and five chutneys. Both of us have student cards, and so all of that cost a very reasonable £4.50, and gave us the energy to power our four-mile walk into Manchester.
The chutneys were a real highlight. Dosas usually come with three - sweetish coconut, green (probably coriander) and red (probably tomato-based), with varying degrees of spiciness. A curry-like sambar (thin lentil stew) is also included . Dosa Xpress' stand-out chutney was moreish red and vinegary with a good kick of heat. Using the idli, the medhu vada and the huge expanse of dosa pancake, Al and I made short work of the chutneys and sambar, leaving nary a hint that they had ever existed.
The dosa pancake was good - thin, light and crispy on the outside but soft on the inside where it counts (you need the spongy side to soak up the sambar). The filling needed a hint more flavour, but the potatoes were a good consistency (unlike at Chennai Dosa in London) and tasted of the spices that had been used.
Throughout, we'd been supping on salt lassis (nice and tart), and were tempted by the wide range of items available on the menu. The Dosa Xpress menu is heavy on the dosas (no surprise there), and doesn't really veer off into North Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi food, which is a good thing. Before our food arrived, we could hear it being cooked (very noisily) in the kitchen, attesting to its freshness. Well-situated for lunch and dinner crowds, and priced to appeal even during the recession, it's a good restaurant offering solid, freshly made and flavoursome food in an area that is a bit of a culinary deadzone (until you hit Burton Rd).