The place was not exactly quiet because it was full. There was a steady din going around. Then for a few seconds, all hell broke loose. There were loud cheers, as if a celebrity had made an appearance. There was indeed one: Virender Sehwag.
Before him, not drawing attention and having a peaceful meal with his daughter and a friend was chief selector MSK Prasad. In the last few days, this place had Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar among its visitors. Last year when India were in town for a Test, KL Rahul and R Ashwin had savoured the specialities served here.
Welcome to Chennai Dosa, one of the several Indian restaurants in Southampton. It is fast making a name for itself as the favourite destination for Indian cricketers and fans. On Tuesday evening, it was almost chock-a-block, with dosas, idlis and vadas being devoured. Parathas and naans were also in demand.
Located in the buzzing City Centre area, Chennai Dosa doesn’t specialise only in the fare associated traditionally with its name. Along with veechu parottas, they serve the North Indian variety as well, other than its own creations like Tuna Fish Masala Dosa. These have become quite popular, as the number of people present out there suggested.
“Our clients are a mix of Indians and English, who like to taste the uniqueness of what we prepare. Business picks up especially during matches,” says David Diniz, who runs the place. He is from Goa.
Chennai Dosa is owned by a Tamilian person called Naveen. It was called Namaste Kerala till about two years ago.
For cricketers, David goes easy on the oil.
“When Rahul and Ashwin came here, they told us to be not so generous with the oil. When players from Southern India come, they mostly go for dosas and kothu parottas. Otherwise, to keep everyone happy, we prepare different kinds of food. It’s a mix of South and North Indian favourites,” says David.
With India set to return to Southampton for their match against Afghanistan on June 22, expect Chennai Dosa to be buzzing again.