Review: Dosa Park

Susie Finlay finds great Indian cooking in a surprising location

One of my most pressing tasks at the beginning of last term was scouring the internet in search of the best food in Oxford, as is always my custom on arriving in a new city.

A fresher’s library induction or two may have been sacrificed in lieu of a particularly distracting and fruitful restaurant search. But it was only last week that I summoned the courage to make the treacherous journey to the South Indian restaurant Dosa Park, featured in The Guardian’s top ten budget restaurants in Oxford. Nestled between the tackier class of Oxford nightclub, off-licences and a car park, Dosa Park is situated in the deepest and darkest depths of Park End Street. Not the most scenic of locations, and just opposite the station, this is an undeniable trek for most students. So is it worth it?

If you judge your restaurants purely on their aesthetic value, the answer is probably not. That is, unless you harbour a penchant for exposed electrical fittings and kebab-shop style chic. The decor is spartan to say the least. But what Dosa Park might lack in comfort, it makes up for in choice. The menu offers a wealth of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, from thalis to dosa to boiled eggs, if you’re in the mood for something a little blander.

But casting the eggs to one side, we started with sweet and salty lassis, refreshing and fill- ing enough to constitute a starter. The service was brusque, but efficient. Forthemaincourse, I opted for a plain dosa—as the namesake of the restaurant, this seemed basically obligatory—and saag dhal. The dosa was intimidating large. Even folded over, it appeared to be the size of a small table cloth. But despite the hefty surface area, we devoured it with impressive speed. It was savoury and delicate, crunchy but not dry.

The dhal was also excellent. Fresh and almost creamy, I scooped up the remnants with a corner of the dosa, leaving the bowl spotlessly clean. The meat dishes—butter chicken and chicken jalfrezi—were less remarkable. Tasty enough, but not any more memorable than your standard Indian fare. But as a South Indian restaurant this is hardly surprising. The meal came to around £8 each, including drinks.Stick to the vegetarian dishes, and you’ll come away deeply satisfied. Everyone needs a favourite Indian joint, and this could be yours.

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Dosa Park, 25 Park End St, Oxford OX11HU