Long hailed as one of the best spots in the neighbourhood, and a destination for the more adventurous vegetarian, Udupi Palace underwhelms with the decor but more than makes up for it with the kitchen.
The scene is basement cafeteria chic. Except maybe without the chic. Sprawling tables are mixed with screaming children out for a mid-week family meal. Waiters stand-by attentively offering quick, helpful service. All the while, Udupi's famous dosas emerge from the kitchen on huge trays, finding their way to almost every table in the joint.
While dosas are likely the favourite here (also evidenced by Udupi's upcoming spicy dosa eating contest - August 24th), we've come for the uthapam, large Indian style pancakes made with rice, lentils and a filling of your choice. There are seven types on the menu, and after conferring with our waiter, we settle on his recommendation (the onion and hot chili - $5.95).
Since we've decided to share, we also order the more substantial South Indian Thali ($8.95 - see photo above), a large enough tray of white rice, vegetables, dal, rasam, sambhar and chapati. It arrives first and we easily devour the whole thing. The flavours are intense with a variety of spicy and sweet options.
Next comes the uthapam (see photo at top). It doesn't disappoint. The pancake is fresh and thick with delicate hints of onion and chile. It's not as spicy as we thought so we pour on the accompanying sambhar and chutney to take the flavour up a level.
Also on the menu are more than a dozen dosas, soups, curries, lassis and a range of appetizers. The full list of options can be viewed on their web site.