4-7, Sarthik Complex,(next to Gulmohur Mall)
Near Fun Cinemas,
A recent foodie discussion, had me craving South Indian thalis. We have been moving houses within Ahmedabad, so the kitchen has been mostly non-functional for the last week or so and I was tired of having Chinese and tikkas, I wanted some home style food - a full plate of rice and accompaniments. Since the husband is on a veg diet for Navratri, this was as good a time as any to visit Dakshinayan - the "new" South Indian joint on the block, given that Dasaprakash (our previous favourite) has now closed down (temporarily?).
The interiors of Dakshinayan are a warm dark wood and reminiscent of many such settings (Delhi's Naivedyam for one). The staff is dressed in black shirts and black mundus/lungis.
Dakshinayan offers all the regular South Indian snacks - idlis, vadas, dosas, uttapams, sevai, upma, pongal and various rice preparations - bisibele baath, puliyogare, thair sadam in the 100-150/- Rs range. They even offer appams with stew (2 appams - 185/-)
We ordered the Dakshinayan Sapadu (300/-), which was unlimited everything. Choice of puris or rice, outstanding rasam, dry potato and dry ladies finger (bhindi) dishes made with coconut were amazing. The curd was outstanding quality, gulab jamuns were yum without being over-sweet. Thin and delicious buttermilk (I find the North Indian versions, more like lassi than buttermilk) The perfect Tamil style appalam (papad) added the lovely crunch. The korma, sambhar and pickle were reminiscent of so many eateries that I have eaten at, across Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as a child that it took me down a memory lane of road trips with my Aba (grandpa).
For me, the final bite was a perfect mixture of rice, sambhar, pickle and crushed papad. For the hubby, the final perfect bite, was puris with a big serving of sugar mixed into the curd. What more can you ask of a thali meal, than to satisfy the cravings of a hungry South Indian and North Indian?
Service was lovely on a Saturday afternoon. My only problem was that the sambhar was served at a less than acceptable temperature. The rasam was at perfect temperature and I don't know how a South Indian restaurant doesn't have a pot of sambhar continuously boiling on a flame. Its a necessity for every dish served and is normally just allowed to simmer away until the pot needs to be replaced with another. The sambhar and the top up, was almost room temperature.
Initially 300/- seemed like a lot for a South Indian veg thali. But given that everything was unlimited, it did seem reasonable in the end.
We also tried the thengai sevai (125/-) - savoury vermecilli with coconut which was excellent. Without realising, I ordered it after the meal, thinking it would be a sweet version, but it turned out to be the savoury version. It was brilliant and can be had as a breakfast item or as a snack. since it was savoury, we got it packed and hubby had it the next morning for breakfast. Even though it was reheated the next day, he said the taste and texture were perfectly fine and the nuts gave a lovely crunch to the dish and made it more filling.
Rating : 4 / 5
Added on 10 November 2014:
I'd been wanting to go back and try the doas at Dakshinayan, ever since we had the thali meal here, but I make Idlis and dosas at home so often, that we never got around to visiting.
However, the other day I was craving a thin crispy dosa and so I visited to order their Paper Masala Dosa (200/-Rs). The person taking the order, warned me that it was really huge, but I decided to be reckless, throw caution to the wind and order it anyhow. It took about 25 minutes to arrive and when it did it was longer than the table (yes, the ends were jutting out. The taste and crispness however was perfect. Sambhar this time was at ideal temperature and tasted lovely. Coconut chutney was brilliant and of the 2 other chutneys that were served with it, I preferred the darker red one (onion + garlic + chilli?) I'm proud to say, that I was able to eat the whole dosa myself. Think its time to start my own version of "Man vs Food", "WoMan Vs Food" anyone?
The South Indian Filter Coffee (50/-Rs) was perfect and Sankalp has tough competition on this front.
Given the more personal and less generic nature of Dakshinayan and the overall levels of hygiene, I would prefer Dakshinayan over Sankalp anyday (if the option exists, on the highways Sankalp is still our go-to)