My friend and fellow diner last week at Diwana Bhel Poori House has a big mortgage to pay. A mortgage so big that it is, including other house related bills, taking up 75% of hers and her partner’s joint income. I do not have a mortgage. I do, however, have rent to pay and an expensive impulse shopping habit to maintain. So our only option was to find a dirt cheap restaurant, and as I’m sure you already know, finding a cheap restaurant in Central London is not easy. But find one we did – with knobs on. It was right next to Euston Station, extremely cheap at £12 per head (excluding drinks), and the Southern Indian food was jolly bloody good too.
But better yet, my friend lived and worked in South India for some time, on the Tamil Nadu and Kerala border, so she knows an awful lot about Southern Indian food. And she was thrilled. Thrilled by the menu, thrilled by the bhel poori (a puffed rice dish), thrilled by the dosa’s (an Indian pancake) and generally pleased (and thrilled) with the whole shebang.
The service was charming and efficient…
But enough about her (I’m supposed to be reviewing the restaurant and not my friends after all) and onto the restaurant and food. The restaurant is not luxurious. It is furnished with old wooden tables and all the crockery is metal. It was busy though, which always bodes well. Not too busy mind, but busy enough to know it’s got a name for itself. The service was charming and efficient, and the only problem I encountered was the size of the toilets. So small they were that I only just about managed to squeeze in, and I’m not enormous at five feet and eight inches, but anyone longer than me would surely be screwed.
Anyway, before I nearly got stuck in the toilet I managed to try the food. To start we had the bhel poori, which is, I believe, puffed rice with vegetables in a tangy tamarind sauce. We also had a sort of dumpling in a yoghurt sauce. The bhel poori was delicious, and the dumpling was ok. For her main course, my friend had a dosa, which is a fermented pancake made from rice batter and black lentils. She loved it. I on the other hand went for a thali because I’m greedy and wanted loads of different dishes, which is guaranteed with a thali. It consisted of an aubergine curry, a potato curry, a dhal, rice, little onion bhaji’s and chapatti’s. The dhal was my favourite (as it so often is), but the whole selection was jolly good.
I love Southern Indian food (as does my friend) and I love it even more at a mere £12 per head.
Images courtesy of Ewan Munro and Diwana Bhel Poori House