Photography by Varun K R
Tired of the usual curry house, we went to East Ham in search of an authentic South Indian meal. If there ever was a haven for comfort food for the Madrasi abroad, it is a slice of home in the form of Sarvana Bhavan. Located just a short walk away from the station and well known to local residents, we found that it was common to have to queue for about twenty minutes before getting a taste of things. Once seated however, it was all systems go from the start. We were instantly greeted by an affable waiter, skilled at putting structure to chaos, deftly coaxing out and remembering a very complicated, often changed order for seven while never once losing his smile.
For starters, we had two bronze brown donut shaped lentil Medhu wadas, perfectly crisp on the outside and warm soft on the inside accompanied by coconut chutney and sambar daal which was quickly followed by a round of hot rice idlis and cool dahi wadas. Energy levels up, we dived in to tamil sun tanned dosas accompanied by tri-coloured chutneys and onion and chilly uttapams made from rice and lentils. All the main dishes were truly delicious and we ended the first two courses on a note of satisfaction.
The deserts were not crafted by the kitchen and were not up to the mark. We would recommend calling it a day after the main course and going elsewhere to balance any piquant aftertaste. The best part of the meal however was the price - starters, fresh juices, a range of main courses, desert and a full belly for less than £9 a head!
Sarvana Bhavan is located at 300 High Street North, Manor Park (E12 6SA) as well as in Harrow. Visit them online at www.saravanabhavan.co.uk.
Written by Nikhil Kalanjee