Considering the size of the South Indian community in Abu Dhabi, quality cheap eats are relatively hard to come by. However, Chappan Bhog is a favourite for fast, mouth-watering fare from the region. The cosy restaurant only has six tables, but a spacious wooden patio is crowded in the winter. At lunch time, the restaurant fills with office workers eating thalis, a traditional meal offering a taste of several curries and accompaniments. The regular vegetable thali is priced at Dh15.50 and includes a chickpea curry, potato curry, vegetable curry, dhal, cooling raitha, piping hot puris or chappatis and a sticky Indian sweet to finish. Chappan Bhog is a meat-free venue and the service is fast, with food arriving on the table within minutes. The stars of the show are the dosas, served in the mornings and evenings. There are 14 varieties, from crispy, paper-thin masala to onion and coconut. For those unfamiliar with the large rice pancakes, served with spicy coconut chutney and sambar (a spicy dhal for dipping), Chappan Bhog offers an authentic introduction. At the back of the restaurant, a brightly painted trolley offers bhel puri and pani puri for Dh1, while an array of sweet, milky burfi and sticky jalebi and gulab jamun will keep any sweet tooth happy. Chappan Bhog, behind Adnoc Building on Salam Street, Abu Dhabi (smaller branch next to Eldorado cinema only serves sweets and pastries), 02 6778864.
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