Godavari Andhra is a restaurant in Karama which, as its name suggests, specialises in authentic Andhra cuisine. Located in the Happy Home Building opposite Al Saqr Al Abyad Mini Mart, the walls of its simple, no-frills interior are decorated with pictures of legendary Indian film stars on one side and the Godavari river on the other. I could find nothing to suggest why this restaurant enjoys almost cult-like status amongst the fellow diners my sister and I spoke with while there for breakfast last Friday. There was this one guy who said he drove there from Sharjah every Friday for breakfast – imagine that. The owner pointed out a group of young men who would do the same, only they came from Ajman. So, with our expectation bar set at maximum, we placed our orders…
I started with my usual idli-vada dip while Pari ordered a paper masala dosa (extra crispy, less oil, no chutney, masala on the side…somehow women manage to complicate even the simplest of things…like ordering a dosa). I asked for an onion rava dosa after my idli-vada. I’ve found it’s better to order a rava at the same time as whatever you’re having in your first round as rava dosas take time to make. I think it was the curse of expectation, but the sambar my idli-vada was served in, as delicious as it promised to be, was as enjoyably salty as drinking a glass of seawater. Pari’s dosa arrived broken in the middle. Cult-Man from Sharjah saw this, shrugged and pointed with a raised eyebrow at the bondas he was having, as if to say – this is what you should be having. So, we did.
Bondas and rava dosa arrived at the same time and went some way towards restoring my faith in the restaurant. I say some because I still had to dunk both into the super salty sambar. Half way through I burst out laughing because, with every dunk I’d think of that hyena scene in the Lion King where they shudder each time one of them says Mufasa, but they kept doing it for the pleasure of pain. Yeah, that’s a little like what I felt.
Sambar aside, I actually enjoyed both onion rava and bondas tremendously, the latter remining me of train journeys I’d go on through South India as a teenager, and the runner boys who’d race up to the side of the train cabins as it would pull into station, yelling “bonda-tea, bonda-tea, bonda-tea”. Godavari Andhra had the bondas but sadly not the tea…nor coffee for that matter – how strange.
Godavari Andhra is a restaurant which offers much more than the breakfast my sister and I sampled. Our experience there (and this review) should be looked at in the context of a South Indian breakfast rather than a representation of the restaurant itself. That said, even if the sambar hadn’t been salty, I still wouldn’t ear mark Godavari Andhra as a breakfast spot to return to in the future. Like the punchline of that Carlsberg ad from the 80’s, it’s good but not that good. I certainly have missed out on what those boys from Sharjah and Ajman get all excited over. Perhaps I’ll try the place for lunch sometime…
#1 Food Blogger on Zomato Dubai – 2018, 2019 and 2020
Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue.
Join his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on email@example.com.