Dosa Hut, Wyndham Village Shopping Centre, 380 Sayers Road, Tarneit. Phone: 8742 4263
Dosa Hut in West Footscray has become an institution.
So much so that even the recent appearance of an upstart imitator right across the road has caused not a blip in Dosa Hut’s business.
But it should always be gratefully remembered that it was Dosa Hut that brought dosas – and related foods such as idlis and vadas – to Melbourne’s west.
Those introductions have wrought a revolution.
These days, it’s very rare to find an Indian restaurant on West Footscray’s Barkly Street Indian precinct – or Werribee’s equally busy Watton Street – that doesn’t sell dosas and the like.
As well, most who do so are these days also selling biryanis, Indo-Chinese dishes and even breakfast/snack dishes such as bhel puri and cholle bhature.
And they are often doing so without having on their menus once-were-staples such as beef vindaloo or butter chicken.
All this has been great for us punters – we’ve got more variety of Indian food in the west at lower prices than is normally the case in more formal a la carte joints.
It can even be argued that much of this new wave of Indian food is healthier!
But as we’ve been chowing down on our inner-west dosas, the western suburbs themselves have been expanding at a frenetic pace.
And in the new housing wilds of Tarneit and Truganina, there has been little or no Indian food to be had – until now.
I suspect the opening of a Dosa Hut branch at Wyndham Village Shopping Centre is a masterstroke – one that is soon to followed by another branch at Roxburgh Park.
The new Tarneit establishment has more obvious similarities to a fast-food place than its West Footscray sibling – the young and efficient staff are even decked out in uniform black, including caps, and the ordering process is conducted via tablets.
But as far as we can tell, the long menu is the same.
There’s enough that’s recognisable about our surroundings that we relax but we nevertheless stick to a couple of old stagers to share – just to make sure the food here is of the same high standard as closer to home.
As we fully expect it to be …
Masala dosa ($9.50) – with the crisp, fermented rice and black lentil crepe stuffed with spuds – is the default position when it comes to dosas; not as bare or unadorned as a plain dosa, not as rich as those stuffed with lamb, chicken or cheese.
This is a fine version with all the accoutrements lined up, including a very fine sambar (a soupish, curry mix of dal and vegetables), though the potato masala is bit more dry and crumbly than we are familiar with.
Chicken biryani ($11.95) looks a little on the plain, unseasoned side as it is brought to our table.
But spilling the rice, profusely studded with cloves and cardamom pods, on to our metal tray reveals a much wetter and more highly flavoured mixture.
Buried among it are a chook drumstick and a meaty thigh, both good of flavour.
The peanutty gravy and runny raita are the usual, expected and enjoyable accessories.
Just one, final word of warning – not all the food at the likes of a Dosa Hut is highly spiced and hot.
But most of it is – if you’re not used to very hot food, or who have children who are likewise, ask the staff for safe tips.