Saravana Bhavan

Restaurants, Indian Rayners Lane
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Bringing the aroma of crackling curry leaves to suburbia, this simple South Indian café has become a destination for large family groups. Serpentine queues on weekend evenings are a giveaway that dining here is worth the wait. Meals are great value, especially the special offers during the week. Expect tongue-tingling flavours – tamarind, curry leaves, mustard seeds, coconut and plenty of tart lentil-based dishes.

Despite the lengthy menu, dosas are the stars. These simple pancakes, made from ground rice and lentils, are crisp on one side and slightly spongy on the other. We recommend the masala dosa filled with crushed potatoes and accompanied with tamarind lentils (sambar) and fresh chutneys made with coconut and chillies. North Indian options don’t make the grade, but other southern specialties are worth checking out.

We were taken by the soupy consistency of bisibelabath – a warming ‘stew’ made from simmered rice and lentils cooked with fiery chillies, tomatoes and diced vegetables. Lunchtimes tend to be on the quiet side, but visit at the weekend for a boisterous experience. Service remains polite and professional even when the place is packed.



Venue name: Saravana Bhavan
Address: 403 Alexandra Avenue
Opening hours: Meals served 11am-10.20pm Mon-Thur; 11am-10.50pm Fri-Sun
Transport: Tube: Rayners Lane
Price: Main courses £2.50-£7.95
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