Surya Darshini

Saturday, May 29th 2021

It was a Saturday morning, and I wanted to sleep in. I didn't sleep early enough to not sleep in today, and I had to wake up.

Two days ago, on Thursday, I set around 8 alarms - every 10 mins from 6:30 PM and every minute from 6:55 PM. I knew I had to be ready to check out the order quickly because two weeks ago a friend had attempted and couldn't get his order early enough; he could the following week.

I had heard about this place over a year ago. When I had heard about it, I didn't have a car yet, and when I did, the world entered the pandemic mode.

So there I was now, all vaccinated, ready for the new world, and to check out the order - an order for butter masala dosas (with extra chutney, of course). I had to pre-order dosas that I would have two days later.

On the afternoon the next day, I received an email notifying my allotted time for picking up my order. In the email, they mentioned that their orders were sold out, in fact, over-booked, in four minutes. I would pick up mine at 10:15 AM.

Come Saturday, my boyfriend and I woke up less than refreshed, dragged our feet, got two trenta iced teas, and drove up to San Ramon. It wasn't too far, a 45min drive without traffic.

It was indeed unique because not even in Bangalore would I find dosas like this. The two most prominent restaurants (from my experiences) for dosas in Bengaluru are Vidyarthi Bhavan and CTR. Surya Darshini was like... neither.

It had elements of what I liked at both places, minus what I didn't in both. It had Vidyarthi Bhavan's style inside with a more homogenous surface and CTR's rich crispness on the outside. The outer color closer to Vidyarthi Bhavan, with darker shades of golden, red, and brown than a more uniform golden-red of CTR. It wasn't puffy on the inside, something that always put me off since halfway through eating; when the dosa isn't super-hot and fresh from the kitchen, it'd feel a little rubbery, dry, and a small chore to swallow.

No, the dosa from Surya Darshini really was something. It was unique. When I put it in my mouth and started chewing, it'd crumble than the usual tear of dosas. Almost like it was delicately put together like a jigsaw puzzle at a microscopic level. It was just delicious. CTR's dosas would break apart than crumble. Not that I prefer one over the other.

The sambar wasn't exciting. Chutney was somewhat more than good enough. The palya/masala was great! It was spicy enough to take me back to Bengaluru's tastes but still mild enough for someone whose tolerance of spicy food has reduced after living here for five years. My boyfriend made sure to mention that the chutney had hing in it. I couldn't taste it as clearly. He doesn't like hing.

I often missed Bengaluru-style dosas. I could never find it anywhere. Not sure why. I just didn't. I've now found something I'm sure to return to. It was a trip down memory lane. It wasn't just tasty and yummy food; it was food for my soul.