Restaurant: Desi Dosa Madras Restaurant
Last visited: August 20, 2010
Location: Surrey, BC (Surrey/Newton)
Address: 8859 120th Street (Scott Road)
Price Range: $10 0r less / $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- South Indian family owned and operated
- Authentic South Indian cuisine
- Extensive menu
- Specializes in dosas
- Biryani/Curry mains available
- Vegetarian/Non-vegetarian options
- Home made
- Clean, casual, comfortable
- Cheap eats/Budget-friendly
- Catering available
- Open late
- Open daily 11:30am-10pm
- Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm
**Recommendations: Dosas – in particular the Chicken Dosa and Egg Masala Dosa. I’m curious what their South Indian Style Butter Chicken tastes like as well.
Desi Dosa Madras is an authentic South Indian restaurant located in Surrey, BC. The signage is tacky and from the outside and it looks like a hole in the wall, but don’t judge a book by its cover because Desi Dosa Madras is a fantastic find. The inside is impressive and unexpected and the restaurant is large and spacious and seats probably up to 80+ people. It’s causal, clean, traditional, yet modern and very comfortable for individual, group, or family dining.
It’s a husband and wife operation and the owner and chef Pathmaraj Prasad is born and raised in Sri Lanka. They specialize in dosas (a long South Indian style crepe), but also offer meat, seafood, and vegetarian South Indian curries, breads, biryanis, and even homemade traditional desserts. I was very surprised to see such an extensive menu and I wasn’t expecting to see so much meat and seafood since South Indian cuisine tends to be on the vegetarian side, especially compared to North Indian cuisine. Talking to the server and asking for recommendations, it’s quite obvious that the dosas are the highlight, however they impressed me so much that I would venture to the non-dosa items next time.
Until Desi Dosa Madras, my South Indian go-to dosa restaurants for the last few years have been Mayuri Indian Cuisine and House of Dosas, however I can now add this to the list. The dosa here seemed a bit smaller, but they’re equally as stuffed and tasted great. I randomly picked the restaurant after previously driving by it a couple times.
On the table:
- Dosa stuffed with shredded spinach and Desi Dosa potato masala. Served with sambar, coconut and tomato chutney $7.95
- A dosa is a South Indian style savoury crepe and it’s served rolled up in a massive log with stuffing.
- Although the crepe is huge, it’s only stuffed with a modest amount of potato filling so it’s actually a perfect individual serving.
- The crepe is made upon order and it’s made from fermented rice and lentils.
- It’s very thin and slightly tangy and it could have been crispier because it was a bit soft and chewy and more like a French crepe, but it was still good.
- The inside was stuffed with a good amount of spinach and potato curry. The spinach was very fresh and not overly cooked and mushy.
- I could taste an equal blance of potato and spinach and although it was spiced, it wasn’t spicy. It was very flavourful, not oily, and quite light which I liked.
Tomato and Coconut Chutney
- All dosas are served with tomato and coconut chutney. The chutneys are significantly better than the ones from Mayuri Indian Cuisine.
- The tomato chutney is homemade and it tastes just like the tomato sauce from canned Sardines. It’s savoury, sweet, and fishy tasting and it’s not spicy. It was unexpected, but I liked it. Although it’s a light chutney, it makes the dosa taste richer and heavier because it has so much flavour.
- The coconut chutney was sweet and chunky with dried coconut flakes throughout. It was great with the crepe and added a sweetness to the potato curry which reminded me of Asian coconut milk based curries. I also really like the coconut chutney from Simba’s Grill.
- Dosa stuffed with spiced shredded chicken and herbs. Served with sambar, coconut and tomato chutney $10.25
- The best Indian chicken ‘wrap’ I’ve had is the roti chicken cannai in Malaysia from Mohamed Nazar Curry House, but this one was also excellent.
- I’m not used to seeing meat dosas, and it was nice to see chicken, lamb, and shrimp dosas on the menu.
- I don’t think they’re known for seafood and I wouldn’t be too confident ordering it here though. However, I guess I can’t say until I try.
- The chicken dosa is stuffed with boneless and skinless chicken thigh and it’s apparently better than their Nilagiri Chicken Dosa because it’s juicier and softer (although both use the same meat).
- The chicken was shredded and in fact juicy and tender and it’s sauteed with caramelized onions and bell peppers so it’s sweet and savoury.
- There’s also some potato curry in the mix, but the majority was chicken and there was a lot of it too.
- All dosas are served with a cup of Sambar.
- Sambar come with every traditional South Indian meal. It’s a vegetarian South Indian stew or soup made from lentils, tamarind and other vegetable and spices. It’s typical to eat it with Medu Vada (savory Indian donuts made from lentils and rice) or Idly (steamed soft rice lentil cakes). Both are available here as appetizers, and they’re quite bland on their own, but both great soaked in the soup or eaten with the chutney.
- The Sambar here is excellent and better than Mayuri Indian Cuisine, which now seems very watered down.
- The stew was thick with ingredients and well textured.
- It tastes like pureed lentils in a spicy and tangy tomato soup and it’s the only thing I had that was spicy.
- It was on the salty side, but the spice lingers and kicks in after a few sips.
- There were pieces of carrots, onions, lentils, and even Okra in it.
- Egg dosa stuffed with Desi Dosa potato masala. Served with sambar, coconut and tomato chutney $9.50
- This was recommended and the only other time I’ve had something similar was the Roti Chicken Cannai in Malaysia that also had egg in it.
- I’m not sure why this is folded instead of rolled, and I don’t know how they determine the folding method.
- I was confused at where the egg was to be found at first, but realized it was actually roughly scrambled (more like a roughly fried egg) in between sheets of the crepe and not actually in the stuffing.
- I actually wanted more egg because it took me a while to find out where it was and I couldn’t tell by just eating it.
- The curry potato stuffing was great and it was pan fried before they stuffed it into the crepe.
- It had lots of mustard seed and caramelized onions so again there was a savoury and sweet balance, but not spicy.
- Again, I would have wished for a crispier crepe like at Mayuri Indian Cuisine, but it was still very good.