In South India there is a tradition that ‘the guest is God’. At Daana, Westside Acton, Sunita and Sanjay are following that tradition, making their ‘guests’ feel welcome and special.
Sunita faithfully recreates dishes full of flavour from her home town Palakkad in Kerala, including Canberra’s rare (perhaps only) fresh idli and a range of vada.
Idli Sambar $10 – steamed rice and lentil cakes served with coconut and tomato chutneys and sambar – a spiced lentil and vegetable stew.
Dal Vada – a crunchy and mildly spiced Bengal lentil dumpling served with coconut chutney $10.
I’ve also heard the Peanut Chakna is very good.
But perhaps the star of the menu is the dosa! Choose from a marsala spiced potato filling or a very delicious spiced lamb mince.
A generous serving of two dosa with coconut and tomato chutneys and the very good sambar is $14.
If there’s two or more of you, it’s great fun to get the family sized dosa to share ($30 for the lamb $28 for the potato filling).
Other options are the Onion Pakora $8 – crispy onion fritters with tamarind chutney and mint yogurt
Be transported back to Bombay with a Vada Pao $12.
Travel and Beyond raves about the biriyani that’s served on Sundays. Sunita makes the Andhra Biriyani and Sanjay the Chicken and Goat Biriyanis. The style of biriyani will depend on which week you go, but why not try them all.
Daana is a great spot to head with a group. Grab some tables, take your own wine and glasses and order some dishes to share.
For a group of eight, two plates of Dal Vada with a drink, followed by two plates of idli and then two set of Dosa (or a family dosa), would be perfect.
And do finish with a Marsala Chai, made from scratch with a special home-made blend of spices.
There’s plenty of gluten free options on the menu like idli, dosa and onion pakora.
Sanita and Sanjay are generous with their food and extra plates and sambar and chutneys are no trouble, but most of all they are generous of themselves and will do what it takes to make sure you enjoy your visit.
Daana is cute by day and cosy by night. It’s a small spot in plain surroundings but Sunita and Sanjay have created a haven of warmth and friendliness, that you will remember as you leave, promising yourself to be back soon for more.