Welcome to Broad Green, tucked away between Thornton Heath and West Croydon on the edges of South London. In this part of London, the language most spoken after English is Tamil — predominately the language of south India and Sri Lanka. So it should be no surprise that this stretch of Zone 5 is a hot spot for some fiery dosa and kothu parotta. Jump on the bus from Brixton or walk from West Croydon overground, and explore Broad Green. Let’s be clear; it wouldn’t be surprising to find these restaurants some of the busiest in Croydon. Be prepared to find out what real spicy Indian food tastes like!Read More
6 Brilliant Places to Eat in West Croydon
Where to eat the best dosa and parotta in this hot spot for south Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine
1. Dosa n Chutny
Dosa n Chutney is a little further north of its competitors, nearer to Mayday hospital. It is very much the same story as its sister branch in Tooting, but diners can expect a more chilled out vibe, away from the gentrified air of Tooting Broadway. Unlike Chennai Dosa, the menu here is a lot more focused. Kick things of with the king fish fry, chilli paneer or gobi 65. For alternatives to the classic mysore or special masala dosas, the onion or mixed uthappam options are equally worth trying — a thick pancake made from rice and lentils, topped with onions, tomatoes, chillies, ginger and coriander. True value-for-money food.
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2. Taste of Kerala Restaurant
Taste of Kerala — or, rather, Taste of God’s Country — serves up authentic cuisine from the south eastern region of India. One of the original (if not the first) south Indian restaurants in the area, Taste of Kerala serves up all the classics. Start with Sambar Vadai (lentil based vegetable stew with fritters made from Vigna mungo) and Gobi Manchurian (fried cauliflower). For mains, choose from Kerala fish curry, Kallumakkaya (fried mussels), or Kakka (roasted or fried clams). Plenty of vegetarian options and dosa available.
3. Chennai Dosa Croydon
When Chennai Dosa opened around 15 years ago it really did set the standard for dosa and home style south Indian cuisine in south London. There would be queues every evening as the locals patiently waited to eat some of the best dosa in the country. They’ve since opened more branches around the south east of England. The Croydon original may not be as busy as it once was, but the quality of the food hasn’t slipped. Dosa is the obvious choice here. Classics such as masala dosa or mysore dosa are reliably top quality. For a light starter, opt for the sambar vadai or rasam vadai. For larger dishes, the paneer manchurian definitely trumps the chilli paneer here. Chennai offers a large menu, which will cater for all needs — two people can comfortably go all in for just £20.
Kalpa has been open for around two years and is very popular with the Croydon faithful. For many, this is their favourite for this style of food. Leaning more towards Sri Lankan cuisine rather than south Indian, visitors can expect good service and a well thought out menu. Best starters include sambar vada, uthappam, chilli paneer and devilled shrimps — hungry diners are best to order two each. For mains, the kothu rotti — a Sri Lankan street food of chopped up rotti cooked on a griddle with either vegetables, chicken, mutton or seafood — is a popular choice. For those after something more simple, the dosa option is only £4! Kal dosa, podi dosa or karam dosa are all great choices.
5. Spice Land Restaurant
Spice Land is bit of a love-it-or-hate-it spot for Croydon; it’s definitely not for everyone. A no frills tummy filler style shack, it sticks to the basics of South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. The plus side: two people can easily eat for £15. The menu is more curry than dosa focussed, but the devilled dishes — cooked in the traditional style with green chillies, and extremely spicy — are worth a try. Devilled potatoes, or one of the seafood options will go great with a curry and some rice.
6. Saravanaa Bhavan Croydon
Croydon CR0 1PA, UK
Many will be familiar with the name of this Croydon branch of the popular chain, but it reliably delivers and is full most nights. Though not in Broad Green, this central Croydon restaurant is an easy walk, and has be to the list. Saravana Bhavan is a pure vegetarian restaurant, and is extremely popular with local Hindu and Jain communities. In fact, there is even a separate menu for Jains, whose observance means they don’t eat anything grown underground. Starters to consider are parotta, rava kichad/uppuma, sambar vada, medhu vada and chilli paneer. For mains, there is a great selection of dosas to pick from; masala dosa, rava masala dosa, mysore dosa or the kara dosa are all excellent. Pro tip: for those who really don’t like spicy food, ask the waiter to make the dishes mild.