With its winning combination of affordable, comforting South Indian vegetarian curries, Sagar has grown in popularity in recent years. There are now four outlets in London –in Harrow, Hammersmith, Covent Garden and the West End – each offering a range of tasty dishes from the south west coast of India.
Sagar is known for its regional Udupi cuisine, which is best showcased in the fantastic dosas (a sort of rice and lentil pancake that is often served with a range of fillings), idli (dumplings), and rasa vada (lentil doughnuts in a tangy broth). With so many fantastic dishes on the menu, we’d highly recommend opting for a mixed thali plate – a flavour explosion is guaranteed.
Woodlands Restaurant has been going since 1981, and its dedication to quality vegetarian curries shows. With three locations across the capital, Woodlands has become a mainstay of vegetarian Indian cuisine – particularly at lunchtime, when workers and foodies alike rush to take advantage of the great-value £6.50 lunch box (which contains a masala dosa, rice, and a vegetable curry).
Specialising in Tamil dishes, Woodlands has a wide menu featuring classic street food and speciality regional items like medu vada (lentil doughnuts) and ‘rava’ (semolina) dosas.
Indian Veg doesn’t look like much from the outside – but just wait until you step in. This humble Pentonville café is decked out in an eye-catching array of vegetarian propaganda, with tongue-in-cheek posters proclaiming ‘Vegetarianism causes peace!’. The other remarkable thing about Indian Veg is, of course, the food. It’s extremely cheap (all you can eat for £7.95) and extremely good: a buffet-style feast of spicy vegetarian curries, vibrant salads, and airy parathas. Most of the food served is vegan – though if you’re vegetarian, the paneer curry is well worth a try.
If you’re hoping to be transported from the bustle of London to the buzz of Mumbai, look no further than Sakonis, which can be found in the heart of ‘Little India’ in Wembley (on the Ealing Road). A charming family-run restaurant that is popular with locals and tourists alike, Sakonis offers a delicious vegetarian menu filled with Gujarati classics. Choose from vegan pani puris, fusion hakka noodles, delightful chutneys, and fantastic desserts (the indulgent shrikhand is a notable highlight).
There’s a bargain to be had here, too: the weekend breakfast buffet will kickstart your day for only £6.99, whilst the £12.99 lunch buffet offers amazing value.
Rasa aims to bring the best of traditional Indian cooking to the UK. Born from the childhood memories of founder Das Sreedharan – who was heavily influenced by his mother’s approach to food, particularly the time spent helping her with the family’s vegetable plot – Rasa now has two branches: one in Stoke Newington and one near Bond Street.
The original North London branch has remained true to its roots: it’s still entirely vegetarian, and still boasts the famous bright pink décor. The eclectic menu is full of new taste experiences: from the spicy chilli and onion rava dosa to the addictive sweet-and-sour delights of moru kachiathu (an unusual combination of turmeric, yoghurt, green banana and mango). We also love the home-made pickle/chutney selection and the battered banana boli with peanut dip.
Truthfully, it might be a little hard to settle on just one (or four dishes); if that’s the case, never fear. You can order a ‘Kerala Feast’ tasting plate instead, which will give you the chance to sample a variety of small plates for just £19.