Salaam Namaste Dosa Hut, 604 Barkly St, West Footscray. Phone: 9687 0171
Does a restaurant have any sort of obligation to tell customers what is in their food?
The food for which they are paying and which they are eating?
My persistent inquiries about the seasoning specifics of my rice meal at Dosa Hut are met with smiles, giggles, shrugs and vague mutterings.
It’s all good fun and I’m not even close to chagrined that I fail in my quest.
But maybe, too, some things are meant to remain unknown.
Dosa Hut should be celebrated widely in the west for being the first eatery to bring dosas and associated goodies into our part of the world.
That seems a long time ago now.
That first incarnation had a dingy shack aspect with a service vibe to match.
A second incarnation – detailed here – took a significant step towards a more formal and professional approach.
Now Dosa Hut has its third incarnation – and it’s another cool step upwards.
There’s branded windows, chic interior decor, a lot more room.
As far as I can tell, the menu remains much the same – though I suspect the range of dishes available of the Indo-Chinese variety has grown.
My simple, plain samosa ($1.95) is beaut – mildly seasoned, beautifully tender potato, ungreasy pastry exterior.
From the Indo-Chinese list I choose “Schezwan Chicken Fried Rice” ($12.95).
You might be thinking that’s quite a hefty amount to pay for a glorified Indian take on a familiar Chinese staple in a cheap eats diner.
You would be wrong.
This is a killer dish; a sensation.
Heaps of fluffy rice is riddled with chewy fried chicken chunks, omelette, peas and finely diced green onion and carrot.
It’s all quite dry and very un-oily, though like just about everything in the Indo-Chinese recipe book, it’ll never pass for health food.
The first few mouthfuls indicate spice levels of a benign nature.
That, too, is misleading. This dish has a magnificent slow-burn spiciness that glows yet never really reaches high-intensity levels.
Given the staff’s reluctance to clarify my seasoning queries, I’m only guessing.
The orange colouring from a mix of turmeric and chilli powder?
The magnificent slow-burn heat from a LOT of white pepper?
It matters not – I love every mouthful.
It’s a big serve, one that should really be shared.
But I go closer to finishing it than I thought I would.