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"The food is great," he said. "It's the only place in Saskatoon offering dosas."

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Tastesaskatoon.com – Review

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  • Aug
  • 9

 

Samosa King of food court

Amy Jo Ehman
for the StarPhoenix

When I started this gig reviewing restaurants, I never imagined I’d be dining in the food court of a shopping mall.

Most food courts have less atmosphere than a boarding school cafeteria, and the tenants are franchises and chains. Call me parochial, but I prefer to sample the efforts of local chefs and restaurateurs.

However, over the Christmas holiday season, a guest at a party cornered me and insisted that I simply must try Samosa King in the food court of The Centre Mall.

“The food is great,” he said. “It’s the only place in Saskatoon offering dosas.”

What’s a dosa, I wondered? Obviously, I had to go.

Since the party in question was at the house of my friends, Gail and Jeff, I invited them to a dinner date in the mall.

Before I continue, I must say something about the food court at The Centre Mall: It’s not half bad.

It’s bright and clean, with real tables and chairs (not those awkward contraptions that are welded together) with a gas fireplace and a nod to interior design. Think of it as a big, busy well-lit restaurant.

Tucked between tacos and stir fries, the Samosa King looks like any other fast food chain, but it’s not. According to the chef and owner, Suresh Venkatachalam, it’s the only non-franchisee in the food court and the first restaurant in Saskatoon to serve South Indian cuisine.

And that brings me to do-sas. A dosa, I discovered, is a thin crepe made of rice and lentil flour, wrapped around a choice of fillings and served with various chutneys. Apparently, it’s a popular street food in southern India. It’s simple and good.

The young fellow taking our order was personable and efficient, answering our questions with a smile even though he’s probably been asked a million times before.

He was proud to tell us that everything is made in the little kitchen at the back of the stall.

Of course, we had to sample the samosas. We also star

ted with an order of pa-koras, which are a deep fried treat made with chopped potatoes and onion in a batter of chickpea flour. The samosas were well filled with a mash of potato and vegetables if, in our case, a bit overcooked.

The pakoras were crunchy with a hint of cumin, served with a green chutney and a reddish chutney which, I’m guessing by their flavours, were mint and tamarind.

Jeff said the pakoras didn’t look too appealing but were, in the end, his favourite new discovery of the meal.

The guys both ordered beef vindaloo which is traditionally quite a spicy dish but, I suspect, toned down for the shopping crowd. It came with several options: Jeff had rice and channa masala (chickpeas).

John had rice and also Gobi (potatoes and cauliflower). They both liked it very much.

Gail chose the kaddai chicken which was cooked deliciously tender on the bone with just a hint of spice. She also ordered naan bread which, though not quite as warm and soft as one might expect from a full-fledged restaurant, was pretty good for a food court.

My dosa came with a bright green coconut chutney which I had never tasted before and which added a tropical flavour to the simple dosa. The meal came with a bowl of lentil soup so flavourful it was my favourite item overall.

No, let me correct that. My absolute favourite was the mango mousse for dessert. I’m sure it was calories through the roof, but irresistibly tangy and smooth.

The two guys decided to end their meal with frozen yogurt and ventured down the mall to another stall. I guess that’s the beauty of eating in a food court.

Samosa King offers several other Indian food classics such as butter chicken, vegetable khorma and goat biryani, all at prices that are comparable to other options around the food court.

According to the owner, there could be more Samosa King outlets in the future. Now that I think of it, testing a new restaurant concept in a food court is a great idea.

Samosa King is located in the The Centre Mall, which is just east of Circle Drive on Eighth Street East. Opening hours correspond to those of the mall.

by,

www.tastesaskatoon.com (Click Here)

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