“Restaurant Dakshin, I presume” said the intrepid and tired OCC explorers as they ventured north, far north, away from the comfort of Shanghai’s center to their latest restaurant, a parting gift from member Chinmay. More on this venture later, for now though the members are seated in the newly opened Indo China owned Dakshin, meaning southern food. Amply named given their recipes are inspired from the southern states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karanaka, and Tamil Nadu, known for being flavorsome by adding fruit to the normal array of Indian spics.
The owners were all on hand and immediately their service and care was apparent, offering food guidance and at one point escorting our impaired chairman to and fro the restroom. This attention was genuine and provided liberally throughout the evening and was reflected in a strong and their top score of 8.7 for customer care.
The counterbalance to this was the atmosphere score which was their lowest at 6.1. The restaurant itself is rather pleasant, located in a sparkling new building and adorned with subtle touches and a stunning picture (painted by a local artist) as a backdrop. Our very own Gandhi seemed more relaxed with the geopolitics of Indo China than the previous meet’s Pak Indo restaurant. So why the low score... well let’s revisit Dakshin’s location which is in Shanghai’s New Multi Media Technology Park, one starts to realizes just how vast Shanghai is. As members descended upon the restaurant by plane, train, taxi and bicycle, in most cases a combination of these was required. It became apparent that this is both a significant and tricky journey, an hour plus in most cases. All this means the OCC were the only people in the restaurant bar two others and all the lovely touches are lost in a sea of sanitized quiet dullness.
Explorers are a hungry bunch though and so the starters arrived swiftly along with a flavorsome lassi and masala cha, both steadily becoming a staple item during our meals. Samoas, onion bhaji, and the innovative “Pondi Puri” a street food inspired dumpling with a separate soup/sauce for the patrons to add too at their discretion. The onion bhaji and Pondi Puri were particularly popular starters.
Into the main course and we were offered a varied selection of dishes including tandoori curries and Dahl’s using beef, lentils, and chicken. The lentil dhal is a delight and one to try with its smooth and rich flavors. Accompanied with the entrees was a variety of excellent side dishes, treats being the vegetarian and especially the green chili naan which was new to many members and created a wave of satisfied nodding heads. The flavors were charming and balanced with an undercurrent of fruits and floral spices, synonymous with the tropical nature of south west India. These all bounced around your taste buds with a fair degree of enjoyment. Not surprisingly the quality score was 7.9.
Replenished, the explorers were ready for their journey home, after all a mountain is not just summited it needs to be descended. They had a spring in their step too as the bill was very fair resulting in a Value score of 7.5.
We sincerely hope Dakshin’s location is not its undoing. With a menu full of tasty options and innovative dishes it is a welcome addition to the Shanghai, sorry Greater Shanghai, Indian restaurant scene.