Strolling down Long Street in Cape Town while on holiday recently we found ourselves outside Masala Dosa suddenly remembering it’d been on our to-do list (but forgotten) for some time. Of course being there & then right that second was a sign from a higher power. I didn’t think we should argue so we settled into an impromptu lunch of some pretty amazing south Indian cuisine.
We were pulled in immediately by the quirky decor. To say there’s loads to look at is a gross understatement.
The story goes that Israeli born owner Amit Raz found his calling in being a restaurateur & opened the Masala Dosa in 2006 after trying his hand at teaching & even a stint of belly dancing. His training is what makes this tale completely unorthodox – he credits his grandmother & his travels to India that endeared its culture & cuisine.
The menus were displayed outside on the shop window (great idea) & I was already fully intrigued but when I saw “all main meals under R90” I was totally won over.
Bollywood meets Life of Pi.
Aloo (potato) bombs – potato, rice & coriander balls with melted mozzarella & chilli centre & coated with crispy crackles. Served in a portion of 4 for R38 with tomato chutney.
I knew we made the right choice in our lunch venue as soon as I bit into the starters – aloo bombs which came highly recommended from our waiter (also the owner). They arrived hot (deep-fried presumably) & set off a taste explosion in my mouth that my brain almost couldn’t process. We contemplated ordering another serving but thought it best to behave. The bar had been set rather high for the rest of the meal…
- The food is incredibly tasty. Everything my taste buds sampled was so flavourful & left me wanting more.
- Tasty does not = hot! Yay! Let’s just say I take my Nandos mild & I don’t enjoy that feeling when you bite into a chilli & feel like you’re going to lose consciousness. And yet, I don’t do bland either (pass the Tabasco!). Masala Dosa gets it just right!
- The portions originally looked to be on the small side but don’t be fooled. I left more than satisfied.
- The service is good & really efficient. There was a bit of a wait with the mains & we were offered sweet dosa (like a chocolate crepe, served in sweet coconut sauce) to make up for it at which point I, of course wanted to offer to wait some more…
The oriental chicken salad was super fresh & tasty. I wanted to lick the bowl.
Yes I’m that girl who goes to an Indian restaurant & then orders salad. It sounds pretty ordinary but hardly is: mixed cabbage & carrots on a bed of salad greens in a sweet cashew, ginger and soy dressing, sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds, peanuts and crispy noodles for R46 or with chicken cubes for R59. Tip – makes sure to toss the salad before you dive in – the amazing dressing is at the bottom.
Make no mistake, dosa is really the star of the show here & has inspired the rest of the unusual menu. I (rookie me) asked if it was anything like naan or roti. It is not. It’s a wafer thin wheat-free, fat-free, protein rich rice & lentil pancake traditionally served with a potato curry. This is the dish that owner Amit Raz 1st fell in love with & has perfected from his travels. If you’re not keen on the vegetarian option they also do lamb & chicken.
It was devoured before I could take a picture (along with the sweet dosa – I apologise!) but you need to know that a lassi is the must-have drink on your visit. It’s a fruity yoghurt drink that looks like a milkshake but is so much more. I stole a sip of the chocolate lassi & the masala magic lassi (the latter is off the gourmet lassi menu & made of banana, sweet spices, rose and cashew nuts). In a nutshell I felt like I wanted to spill the Coke Light that I had just ordered. On purpose.
Need to know
- Walk-ins are definitely welcome but its a small-ish restaurant with limited seating. so its best to book.
- The meat is halaal *air punch*
- They also offer cooking classes (dang I wish I lived in Cape Town!) – imagine!
- You can even pick up your spices, tea & incense while at Masala Dosa
If I ran the place
Gourmet, top end restaurants are a dime a dozen especially Cape Town. Do yourself a favour & go eat out at Masala Dosa 2 or 3 times for that money. And then write me about it…
167 Long Street, Cape Town, 8001
021 442 6772