Sunday, September 5, 2010

Review: Ras Vatika

We first discovered Ras Vatika several years ago, after passing by the brightly lit window and having a spontaneous curiosity about Indian vegetarian food. Fortunately there were not many other customers, as we were faced with a vast array of options from the wall menu and needed the hostess to explain nearly everything.  After asking vague questions about what to eat, we chose the Special Thali (selection of different dishes served in small bowls on a round tray) which she suggested we order, as we could then have a little bit of everything.  The Faluda (a delicious drink with icecream and vermicelli available in three different flavours back then: rose, pistachio and saffron), which we also sampled, was a visual feast as well as a great taste sensation, and made sure we returned with friends in tow, even the self-professed carnivores.

Wall menu that had us at a loss as to what to order
Special Thali - 5 roti, 3 curries, rice, dhal (lentil soup; could also have chosen khadi, or yoghurt soup), salad, poppadom, pickle, gulab jamun (milky balls in syrup) - too much food even for two people
Rose Flavoured Faluda
While the curries have great flavour without the heavy creaminess offered by many other restaurants (though sometimes a little too salty), we have decided that this little restaurant particularly excels at dishes made to order, settling on the dosa (fermented rice and lentil crepe), uttapam (Indian pizza) and a couple of other dishes as firm favourites.

Dosa served with coconut chutney and sambhar
Chole Bhature - bread puffs served with chickpea curry, yoghurt, onion salad, poppadom and pickle
Pullav and side salad.  The slab of butter and fresh coriander made it even more delicious.
A couple of months ago, the restaurant introduced printed menus, which came with descriptions of each dish, helping with the decision making process without making the items any less exotic.  Perhaps we will choose new favourites as we try more dishes, or perhaps not.  Service can be slow in this homely eatery, but in any case, we will be coming back for more.

Panda Recommends

Mains: Chole Bhature ($10.00); any of the Dosa and Uttapam variations ($7.00 - $13.50), especially Mysore Masala Dosa ($12.00) and Tomato and Onion Uttapam ($10.50)
Sides: Dhai Poori ($7.50), Chili Pakoda ($1.50)
Drink: Rose Faluda ($7.00), if you are very hungry
Avoid the thalis - they aren't bad, but the curries from the warming drawers are definitely not as good as the freshly made dishes!

[Added 26 July 2015: I am still recommending this restaurant after all these years!]

Vegie Pandas
You are in vegie heaven!  Everything in the store is vegetarian, and there is just so much to choose from!

Menu Flyer - Page 1
Menu Flyer - Page 2
Restaurant Details

Ras Vatika
596 Dominion Road, Balmoral, Auckland
(09) 623 2145

Opening hours:
Mondays closed.
Tuesdays to Sundays 11:30am - 10pm

Ras Vatika: cheap and cheerful, and absolutely delicious

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  1. Ras Vatika rocks! We love their masala butter dosa and Dhai poori. Yuuuuuum! Methinks I might have to make a trip there soon :) BTW love your blog! Awesome name and awesome reviews. There aren't enough of us Jafa bloggers out there I reckon.

  2. Thanks, Nessie! We went back to try poori for the first time and it was really tasty and delicate. Your blog is really inspiring, BTW---you have a fantastic writing style!


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