Friday, August 16, 2019

South Indian food in Stockholm: Saravanaa Bhavan

I am fortunate to finally have Saravanaa Bhavan, a South Indian restaurant specializing in vegetarian food, in Stockholm. The menu is vast and perhaps slightly daunting for those not having grown up with Indian food, so I took it upon myself to taste and offer you suggestions on where to begin on your next visit to Saravanaa Bhavan, because you MUST go there! 

I started with mango lassi while I waited for the food to arrive. The basics of a South Indian brunch are idli (fermented lentil and rice steamed fluffy dumplings) and dosa, the same fermented batter that's spread thin like a crepe but is CRISPY. So if you're a newbie, I suggest you go for these. Either of them are accompanied by two kinds of coconut chutney, one mild and the other spicy, an addictive tomato chutney and sambar, spice-laden lentil soup. And if you are going there for brunch, don't forget the Madras filter coffee, it's made the same way as in Kerala, milky and frothy. 

Then if you want to get more adventurous, which I usually don't unless my brother forces me to, always order the palak paneer dosa, it's hard not to love homemade soft cheese, in an onion, tomato and spinach gravy encased in a crispy dosa. It's one of my favorites so far. Honestly there are over THIRTY kinds of stuffed dosas on the menu so I'm looking forward to slowly make my way through them... 

Did I mention the menu is huggggeee? They have an Indian Chinese section and whether you're in the mood for Chinese or not, you order the Gobi 65, which is battered and deep-fried cauliflower that strangely resembles chicken wings, so full of texture and flavor. I'm glad I listened to the server's advice on that one, and note that when in doubt, ask them what they'd order -- very helpful and friendly staff! 

If you just can't decide, then order a smörgåsbord of South Indian dishes in one plate - the South Indian thali, it gives you numerous dishes, desserts, yoghurt, rice, papadams and low-and-behold pooris (deep-friend ballooned bread that is addictive!). 

And no matter how full you feel -- you certainly won't leave hungry -- you've GOT TO ORDER gulab jamun, deep-fried milk doughnuts that turn spongy as they're soaked in a sugar, rose water and cardamom syrup. They serve it warm and it's literally sublime! 

P.S. They have a separate vegan menu if you want to stick to strictly plants! Also, they have a lot of gluten-free options but if you want gluten-free dosa, call a day or two ahead to make sure that it'll be available. 

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