Chepalu Urundai
Chepalu Urundai

It’s Indian cuisine – but definitely not as you know it

This diner is sometimes a little lazy – if in doubt, have a korma and naan bread.

So it came as something as a surprise, when eating at Dakhin – South Indian Kitchen, to discover that neither of those options was on the menu.

This was a brand new eating experience for myself and my companion.

We discovered that South Indian cuisine is light yet nourishing, subtle yet spicy, and the combination of rice, coconut, lentils and local spices give it a distinctive taste, easily differentiated from any other region of India.

Dakhim is located up a flight of stairs, and on entering the restaurant, it’s very easy to see why it’s a favourite with the rich and famous when they’re in Glasgow.

Chepalu Urundai

The dining area is large, but the tables are perfectly positioned to ensure that you have enough room for privacy, without feeling isolated at the same time.

The staff welcomed us and showed us to our table, overlooking the Glasgow City Halls. Throughout the evening, they were very attentive, not only to our needs, but everyone else’s. Polite, smart and friendly, you can’t fault the service.

We were given plenty of time to browse the menu to familiarise ourselves with it, and the food available.

As we looked at it, we were brought some tasty padadums, which were beautifully crisp, with a choice of three dips. I stuck to the mango, which was beautifully sweet, and went down far too well.

Chemmeen Varuthathu

For a starter, I opted for the Chepalu Urundai. These are traditionally a fisherman’s snack, and the hand-shaped croquettes of chopped haddock and ginger were fried to a crisp, crunchy golden brown. If you think of a very upmarket fish finger, you wouldn’t be far off the mark. They cut beautifully, and were a great introduction to the cuisine of Southern India.

My companion chose something familiar, but different, for her starter. Her choice was the Chemmeen Varuthathu, with king prawns, peppers and a tangy tomato garlic sauce. It was a great intro – it had a bit of heat to it, and the portion was just the right size. Another hit.

For my main course, my eye was caught by the delicious sounding Kori Mangalorean.

Kori Mangalorean

This is a delicious chicken preparation which contains a superb mixture of different fragrant spices, combined with the mild richness of coconut milk. It was definitely not a korma, but could be a very distant cousin! The chicken was wonderful – soft and succulent, and absored the sauce perfectly. I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

My companion went for a lamb course for her main. The Varutha Attikari is a slow roasted lamb fllet with a gentle marinade of herbs, spices and coconut underlying its superb flavour. This came with a mild sauce, but she chose to eat the lamb as it was, as it was so succulent and well cooked.

Varutha Attikari

We shared a portion of steamed basmati rice between us – nice and soft, and just the right size for both of us.

Our main course was accompanied by the paper dosa bread. This is a crispy, delicate, paper-thin bread, made from rice and lentils, and cooked until it’s golden brown. All well and good – but it’s about three feet long!

We loved it – it was so thin, it tore easily and was superb when dipped into the Kori Mangalorean sauce. I’d never had anything like it before, and would definitely order it again. Perhaps in a smaller size, though, as we managed not quite a third of it between us!

The paper dosa bread

Dakhin is, without a doubt, a hidden gem. If you didn’t know it was there, you could easily walk by it. Next time you’re in the Merchant City, be sure to keep an eye out for it because it’s well worth looking for.

Dakhin, 89 Candleriggs, Merchant City, Glasgow, G1 1NP.

0141 553 2585