Hotel Saravana Bhavan (Hong Kong)

Hotel Saravana Bhavan (Hong Kong)

Where:
Hotel Saravana Bhavan
4F, Ashley Centre,
23-25 Ashley Road,
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2736 1127 / +852 2736 1128 (no bookings though homies).  We went on a Monday and shit was pretty busy.  The crowd also looked pretty authentic if you get what I mean.

Price:
We got out at HKD250 a person and we ordered a SHIT TONNE of food.  If you’re not so fucking greedy, you might get out at HKD200 a person.

The deal:
Saravana Bhavan is a motherfucking huge vegetarian chain of restaurants with over 80 restaurants globally (with about half of those bad boys in India).  It’s like the McDonald’s of India – keep the food consistent and target overseas locations where there’s a high concentration of Indian homies.  You should read this New York Times article, “Masala Dosa to Die For” which outlines how their owner built his vegetarian empire, killed someone and is still commanding a fiercely loyal workforce.  Saravana Bhavan has recently just opened in HK and this news made its way to me via my Indian homies who had been closely monitoring the visa approval status of the chef.  Yo Indian homies, I’ve got the visa feels for you as I understand that every country in this world are pretty much massive assholes to you guys.

I gotta be real with you though, vegetarian food isn’t normally my jam, given my natural instinct to want to eat all the animals.  Shit normally goes down like this:

Some piously healthy homie who looks fucking radiant and calm as fuck:  Heyyyyy how about we go get a meal together sometime?  Oh I know this great vegetarian place.

Me:

owls

HOWEVER, I will make an exception for Indian food which I think is the one cuisine which nails the shit out of this vegetarian thing because it’s not just steamed veg and boring ass salads.  Maybe it’s the spices.  Maybe it’s the fact that everything is cooked in glorious ghee.  Or maybe it’s because they serve almost everything with fuck yeah raita, chutneys and sambars.  Regardless, despite the no meat times, I was fucking pumped to get my lacto-vegetarian dosa times on at Saravana Bhavan HK. My excitement levels rose further when my Indian homie who unsuccessfully tried to make the booking for us reported back that she could hear the waiters talking Tamil on the other side, in a fuck yeahhhh indication of South Indian authenticity.

Saravana Bhavan prides itself on its fucking extensive vegetarian menu and its HK branch has no less than TWELVE different sections and over ONE HUNDRED dishes on their menu. I was soon in a sensory overload and all I could commit to was that I wanted to eat all the South Indian things, vaguely muttering about idlis and dosas.  Luckily, I was surrounded by greedy fuckers so all my South Indian dreams soon came true.  Imma gonna dot point this shit because we tried so many fucking things:

  • Mini Ghee Sambar Idli:  Idlis are a white savoury cake like item made from fermented lentils and rice.  I FUCKING love idlis and I actually used to have an idli mould so I could make my own idlis at home.  Sad times though, cause in the move to HK (where most kitchens are the size of a small bathtub) this was one of the casualties in my kitchen cull.  Saravana Bhavan’s mini ones were perfectly slightly sour and were soaked in a lentil stew with ghee.  I ate these as a single tear rolled down my cheek as I was lost in a sentimental reverie, dreaming of the spacious kitchens of yesteryear which allowed for such kitchenware luxuries as a single purpose idli mould.
    FYN Verdict: FUCK YEAH!
  • Kaima idli:  I’ve never heard of or tried a ‘kaima’ idli before.  The dish consisted of deep fried mini idlis were served in a red, spicy sauce – simply billed as “regional spices” with raitha (cucumber and yoghurt) on the side.  The idlis almost took on a meat like texture and  whatever regional spices may be, this was a serious fuck yeah South Indian slam dunk.  Where have you been all my life Kaima Idli??
    FYN Verdict:  ERMAGERD, SO FUCKING GOOD WE ORDERED A SECOND SERVE.  FUCK YEAHHHHHHHH.
  • Devil potato: Tucked away on the last page under “Tongue Ticklers” is this potato dish which I think was essentially cubed potatoes deep fried in ghee and a mixture of red chillies and Indian spices.  How can deep frying your carbs in clarified butter ever be wrong??  This was my second favourite dish after the kaima idlies.
    FYN Verdict:  FUCK YEAHHHH, you need these spicy taters in your life.
  • Sambar vada:  Vadas are a South Indian breakfast food made from lentil flour and then deep fried.  Gotta love a country who classifies a deep fried doughnut item as a breakfast food.  Saravana Bhavana’s are righteous, heavy fuckers which are served with a lentil gravy with some fresh as fuck coriander mixed through it. YASSS.
    FYN Verdict: Fuck yeah, deep fried lentil doughnuts!
  • Chilli bajji:  The most disappointing dish of the night and the only one we didn’t totally demolish.  Green chillies were wrapped in a greasy, cloying batter. With a side of sadness.  So much fucking sadness.
    FYN Verdict:  Fuck no
  • Dosas: ERMAGERD DOSA TIMES. I can’t remember ever having a decent dosa in HK.  I was told that Woodlands does great ones but when I tried to go once, they said that I was too fucking late for dosas.  SAD TIMES.  For those that don’t know, a dosa is a thin crepe made from rice and lentil flour which is stuffed with a variety of ingredients.  We ordered the paper roast masala dosa (the mega dosa stuffed with potato bhaji) and the mysore dosa (red chilli chutney spread on the dosa).  I will criticise the potato bhaji filling – it could have been better spiced and less like mashed potatoes.  Not the most amazing dosa of my life but fuck me, I’ve missed dosas so much.  I’m all about that crispy crepe with the coconut chutney.
    FYN Verdict:  Fuck yeah, you bet your ass I’ll be back for more dosas.  NGL, I want to bathe myself in that fuck yeah coconut chutney.
  • Appam:  I don’t think I’ve ever had an appam in Hong Kong and this was one of the driving factors behind my desire to visit Saravana Bhavan.  An appam is a pancake made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk and this slightly sour, holey pancake is then dipped in various sambars and coconut chutneys.  GET INVOLVED HOMIES, SARAVANA BHAVAN’S APPAM GAME IS TIGHT.
    FYN Verdict:  My love! Appams! I’ve missed you.  Fuck yeah!
  • Idiaappam:  This is essentially a mass of rice noodles, also known as a string hopper.  You dip this into a variety of sambars and chutneys.  But why mess with this basic dipping bitch when you can be playing with King Dosa and Queen Appam?
    FYN Verdict:  Fuck no.
  • Palak paneer:  We ordered this because this spinach + cheese dish is always a predictable crowd pleaser.  This was despite my Indian homie disapproving of this move because we were in a South Indian restaurant.  Lessons in life – always listen to your Indian homies and if you order Northern specialties in a Southern restaurant you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment.
    FYN Verdict:  Fuck no.  Not terrible but not fucking amazing either.
  • Butter naan:  No garlic naan was available and while this wasn’t the best naan I’ve ever had it was passably ok.
    FYN Verdict:  Fuck nah(n).  OH SHIT SON, I WENT THERE.
  • Indian desserts:  We ordered the gulab juman (a deep fried milk powder dumpling soaked in sugar syrup) and rava kesari (semolina mixed with raisins, nuts, sugar syrup and ghee).  I’ve always had a theory that most Indian desserts originated as a series of practical jokes where some hilarious asshole mixed various ingredients such as carrots, raisins, milk powder, ghee and sugar syrup together and tested his friends to see if people would actually eat them without going into diabetic shock.  Saravana Bhavan’s desserts were slightly less sweet than a normal Indian dessert which simultaneously make your teeth fall out and your pancreas evacuate your body but I dunno, I just don’t think Indian sweets will ever be my jam.
    FYN Verdict:  Fuck yeah, if you’re into having the diabeetus, but honestly I’d just get a chai or coffee next time.
  • Madras Coffee: I rounded off my meal with this sweet, milky frothy coffee and it was a super fuck yeahhhhhh.
    FYN Verdict: Best Madras coffee that I’ve had in the Kong, so fuck yeah homies, get on that shit and risk the chance of not being able to go to goddamn sleep.

So while there were a few fuck no misses they were outnumbered by the solid fuck yeah moments at Saravana Bhavan (Kaima idli! Devil potatoes! Dosas! Appams!). It’s not gonna be the most motherfucking mind blowing Indian feed of your life but that’s not what the Saravana Bhavan homies are gunning for either.  Sometimes when you go out to eat, shit doesn’t always have to be the best ever, sometimes you just want it to be predictable and affordable.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhh to a no fuss, South Indian vegetarian option in the Kong. FUCK YEAH TO DOSAS, APPAMS, IDLIS AND VADAS.

6 Comments
  • waterfallsandcaribous
    Posted at 11:37h, 31 March Reply

    Wow, you like, so totes just transported me back to India. Oh, the yumness!!!

  • DanR
    Posted at 20:11h, 13 April Reply

    Nice. Never order north indian shit in a south indian shop. would’ve avoided most of the fuck no’s.

    • Sgt Noms
      Posted at 20:31h, 13 April Reply

      We were too fucking greedy for our own good. Appams + idlis though, GET IN MY LIFE.

  • Kan
    Posted at 16:43h, 22 April Reply

    Oh my god… I wanna go there right now!

  • Anahita
    Posted at 10:33h, 20 August Reply

    I’m trying this on Friday night and I couldn’t be MORE excited!

    http://www.livingaworld.com – gonna try my BEST to write a blog post on this

    Anahita

    • Sgt Noms
      Posted at 14:53h, 22 August Reply

      How did it go homie?? Kaima idly all the way

Fuck yeah or fuck no?

%d bloggers like this: