19 October 2012 by Denise Slabbert

Holy cows and a dose of feel-good

Masala Dosa is a quirky Cape Town restaurant where good food and great karma are always on the menu.

Interior of Masala Dosa restaurant in Long Street

Finding a great restaurant in Cape Town can be tricky as there are so many to choose from. Just walking down Long Street can leave your head spinning, with café, after bistro, after eatery, after bar offering all sorts of edible and drinkable delights.

I was looking for quirky Cape Town – a little bit hippy and organic, but not over the top; and a little bit sophisticated, but not stuffy. I wanted special, but not pretentious.

Food as therapy

I found Masala Dosa (or perhaps it found me), and it was just what I was looking for.

Giant puppet figurines dressed in garish pink gazed down fondly at me, and after my 1st sip of an ice-cold cider with a dash of lemon, I gained some enlightenment: spirituality and worldliness do, in fact, make good bedfellows (if you don't judge either too harshly).

But the real epiphany was the food – an oriental salad in a sweet cashew, ginger and soy dressing with peanuts and crispy noodles; the delicious traditional masala dosa (lentil crepe served with potato sautéed in onions and mustard seeds); and the tasty but not too spicy thali (small servings of various curries with pappadum and puri).

The subtle 'spiritual' bent at Masala Dosa is deliberate, as is the good food and friendly service, according to owner Amit Raz – a creative being clearly in love with the good life.

He explains: 'The puppets are an inspiration from the puppets of Rajasthan. I had a pair from my 1st travels in India and wanted to have them blown up for a dramatic and quirky effect. I had them made in Cape Town by a company that creates set design.'

I found Masala Dosa (or perhaps it found me), and it was just what I was looking for.

And the upside-down cow on the ceiling? 'When I 1st walked into that space and looked up into the high ceiling, I had a vision of a holy cow. I then went on a mission to find one. With great fortune I saw one on a balcony in town. It belonged to an artist who was happy to reproduce it for me in fibreglass,' explains Raz.

I sipped on my chai tea, in the presence of holy cows and gargantuan puppets and realised that Cape Town can be quirky and fabulous and a little surreal all at the same time. I liked it. I’m going back for more.

Thali at Masala Dosa

Category: Food & Wine

comments powered by Disqus