You’ll know from how regularly this blog is updated that I go out to restaurants to eat a lot. As a consequence, it’s very rare that we order a takeaway. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry and local businesses are really struggling. I’m fortunate enough to still have my job, to be able to work from home with a stable income, and to be in the position to continue to contribute to the local economy by ordering food for delivery instead of going out to eat. What better excuse to give myself an evening off from cooking? This week, we placed an order from Dosa Park. I’ve eaten there before as their establishment is right opposite my office (in normal times), and I loved the food, so was really happy to see they delivered as far out in East Oxford as we live.
I knew from my previous visit that Dosa Park have lots of vegan options, which were clearly labelled on their menu. Unfortunately the vegan labelling hasn’t been added to their website, or their Deliveroo profile where we ordered from. I knew nearly all of their dosas were vegan, as well as a number of their curries, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember which ones. Cue a good 20 minutes of me browsing Google for low quality images of the menu that tourists had snapped months ago! Being a pretty persistent and skilled internet detective, I finally tracked down two separate images of the latest menu, front and back. Zooming out and squinting, I could finally make out which of their dishes were vegan-friendly. Success!
I placed my order and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the food arrived, much earlier than the estimated delivery time. Due to there being some evidence that the virus can survive on cardboard, we removed all the outer packaging without touching the food itself, threw that away, and washed our hands, which is a practice we’ll be doing throughout this pandemic to absolutely minimise our chances of any contamination. I’d also read an article about microwaving your takeaway during this time if you’re concerned about germs on your food, but I was impressed at just how piping hot our food was when it arrived, and nearly burning my hand on the takeaway pot, I didn’t feel it was necessary this time. This was definitely one of the better experiences I’ve had with Deliveroo, I usually prefer Just Eat as your food tends to arrive warmer and in a better state, but on this occasion our driver was on a moped rather than a push bike and I was really happy with the service.
Jamie and I shared two dosas. The first, the tomato chutney dosa, was a huge crepe wrapped round fresh tomato and red chutney. It had a sweet tang to it which was really pleasant, and the spice built as we ate it – so take it slow as you find it creeps up on you! Jamie opened his up and picked out half a dried chilli, so watch out for those too. In fact, let’s just be clear here, if you have a low tolerance to spice, Dosa Park probably isn’t for you. Luckily having eaten there before I knew what I was in for and I loved it all.
The other dosa we ordered was filled with crushed masala spiced potatoes. Both dosas was mostly soft, but crisp at the edges, so nicely cooked and a joy to eat. Although we both loved the chutney dosa, this was our favourite. The potato dosa was just the perfect comfort food, being slightly aromatic, well seasoned with salt, and a little spicy – not as spicy as the rest of the food so maybe one to order if you’re feeling adventurous but not so good with the heat. Who doesn’t want carbs on carbs during this time?
The dosas come served with a few little pots of different curry and sauces to dip into. The lentil curry was incredibly spicy, but flavourful, and nicely salted. I had all of mine and polished off some of Jamie’s too. The other two dips were creamy and much more mild, in fact I felt they didn’t have much flavour and were a bit watery, so although they might’ve taken out some of the heat, we left those.
The last thing we’d ordered, on a random Tripadvisor reviewer’s recommendation, was the aloo gobi. The curry looked very oily when we poured it out into our own bowl, but it somehow didn’t taste particularly greasy at all. The cauliflower had a sweetness to it and it was nicely cooked so it was still a little firm and retained texture. Soft potatoes had also absorbed plenty of flavour from the sauce, making for a really lovely curry.
Overall the food was delicious, though the main appeal of Dosa Park during non-pandemic times is that it’s cheap and cheerful, with the dosas being really great value. This value definitely is not as good when ordering through Deliveroo, because they obviously take a hefty cut of the proceeds, so the prices have had to be increased to reflect that. My order came to just under £30, which is a lot more than it would’ve cost me if I was eating in at Park End Street. That not being an option now though, it was great to be able to tuck into their food from the comfort of my living room. I’ll definitely be going back when my offices are open again, and I can pop across the road for a warming lunch.