Way Down South (WDS) is another good restaurant serving nice, home-style South Indian food, that I discovered after moving to Baner. They specialize in Saraswat cuisine and offer some unique dishes apart from your usual idli-dosa-uttapam-rice regulars. Having two Saraswat colleagues who dish up amazing delicacies from the community for lunch often, it was mainly the love for these Saraswat dishes that took me to WDS.
WDS is located on the main Baner Road, just before D-mart on the same side of the road. The signboard is not very bright and may be missed at night. The restaurant has a very basic set-up; a few tables and chairs outside and good enough indoor seating space on two levels. The décor isn’t much to speak about, but the variety of Tibetan masks on the walls does catch your attention. The place is kept very clean at all times. I managed to peek into the kitchen at a time when the restaurant was all full and the kitchen was very busy; but at that time too the kitchen was spotlessly clean, just as one would have it at home.
These are some of the items that I have tried from their Menu so far:
Sol Kadhi: Usually this soothing drink is my all time favourite at most places serving coastal cuisine, but WDS’s version failed to impress. The consistency is a bit watery and they add a mustard-n-curry leaves tadka to it, which kind of spoils the flavors.
Rasam: I ordered Rasam assuming that it will be a thin, spicy broth but again their version was quite different, albeit really nice. It has a slightly thick, dal like consistency with lots of coriander and kokum as a souring agent.
Chitalampudi Dosa: A regular thin dosa, but it gets a wonderful lift with the spice paste inside and the onion and red chilly chutney that accompanies it. The aloo sabji filling is nothing spectacular, but the sambar and coconut plus dal chutney are both very nice.
Chitrapur Pollo: It was a slightly thick dosa; made with dal, onions and chillies, similar to various versions of savoury pancakes we often make at home. The home-style taste was comforting indeed. This was served with the coconut chutney and mentioned above and a potato gravy made with a very interesting Saraswat style Masala.
Surnolli: I liked this dish the best at WDS. It’s a soft and fluffy Dosa, with turmeric and some sweet undertones from the Coconut milk in the batter. The spicy podi chutney served with the sweet surnolli compliments it perfectly.
Pesarattu Dosa: Again, WDS’s version is simply awesome and they do manage to surpass my previous favourite from Wadeshwar. Their Pesarattu dosa is not too tangy, the onions inside are still crispy and the Dosa itself is well-balanced. This one comes with the sambar, onion chutney and aloo gravy.
Filter Coffee: Just about ok, but not the best. WDS’s filter coffee is a little too watery.
Service is very well trained and well-informed about the cuisine. The couple who runs this place make sure that their customers have a good and homely dining experience.
Prices are not exactly very cheap, but I wouldn’t mind paying what they charge for the awesome and unique dishes they serve in a very hygienic manner.
Look forward to trying their set meals and other speciality snacks and rice items soon.