"Veggie Indian food for a quick, cheap meal"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
I have only recently begun to appreciate the variety of flavours in Indian cooking; from the milder, nuttier, creamy textures of the south to the spicier flavours of the north. There is so much more to Indian cuisine than curry, and luckily we live in a city where it is possible to try masala flavours from Kerala, tandoori from Punjab, and fish dishes from Goa.
Diwana Bhel Poori House is a vegetarian restaurant which specialises in southern Indian food, though it has a little of everything. Despite being somewhat unfortunately located amongst a line of other Indian restaurants a stone’s throw from Euston station it was almost filled to capacity on the Wednesday evening I visited.
A quick glance at the menu revealed why - prices were incredibly low. Starters are around £3; main dishes are mostly around £6-7. There is no alcohol, however many diners had brought their own; there is however a variety of non-alcoholic drinks and teas available, try the delicious mango milkshake or a healthy mint tea.
To start we shared a plate of dahi puris, which are bite-sized crispy shells usually made of a type of bean flour. To eat them, a hole is cracked at the top and chutney is spooned inside. This is a typical street snack in India, but it went down just as well at the dinner table.
Having recently discovered a penchant for sag paneer -the spinach and Indian cheese combo- I chose to have a dosa, a thin pancake wrapped around this creamy mixture, which came with what I recognised as mango chutney and a bright green condiment which looked a bit like mint sauce, however it turned out to be a rather spicy variety.
My dining companion opted for a thali, a substantial meal which comprises several small dishes including rice, dal, a chapatti, several types of chutney, and a sweet dish. Incredibly good value, filling and tasty, I ended up pilfering the milky, almost mousse-like dessert.
Service was quick and efficient, with many waiters hurrying backwards and forwards bringing out food at great speed to be able to cater to the many guests that appeared to come and go. The restaurant itself is equally functional, simple wooden tables and chairs and minimal decorations; the toilets however are reminiscent of a grotty pubs’ where the bare minimum has been done in order to provide a WC.
For a quick, good value meal Diwana fits the bill. Most conveniently there is a selection of Indian sweet shops on the opposite side of the road if you still have room afterwards.
Leila reviewed Diwana Bhel Poori House on Tue 02 Jun 2009