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A Dosa Deliciousness

The enormous McWhirters Building in Fortitude Valley has been around since 1898 and has housed departments stores, markets, shops and fast food joints that have all come and gone.  They chart the rise and fall and rise and fall of the Valley as a shopping destination and the faddish nature of consumers, always looking for the next interesting thing.  It’s a tough gig running a shop in McWhirters as there’s very little reason to venture in, with so many places closed.  Thankfully, there are some businesses going great guns and one of these is Maha Latchmi Indian Sweets.


A simple shop front with a dozen laminex tables and chairs, a hot box and a chiller cabinet belies the delicious meals being turned out every lunchtime.  A brief and vague hand written menu is perched atop the servery. Typically there is a sambhar, one or two curries, perhaps a palak paneer as well as samosas on offer. You can order one or more items in a combination with rice to eat in or takeaway. The best thing to do is point and order.  The thali plate is popular, comprising a selection of curries along with a sambal, achar and rice, served in various compartments on a stainless steel plate.  These are the curries of southern India and are generally simpler using a ingredients such as coconut and rice.  They are often thin and can be sour from the use of flavourings such as tamarind and mustard rather than the sweet complex, creamy Moghul and northern curries that many are familiar with.And rice, is the real reason for my visit.  Used widely in southern India, it is often ground and fermented in batters for popular breakfast dishes such as hoppers and idlis.  It is also used to make huge and wonderfully crisp rice pancakes called dosa or dosai.  On my first visit, I hadn’t seen dosa on the menu (and perhaps they are not) however I saw one being delivered to a customer, so I have returned several times for my own dose ‘a dosa.

To order a Masala Dosa (potato stuffed pancake), simply ask for a dosai or rice pancake at the counter and they will prepare it fresh for you.  The wait is only a few minutes and they are unbelievably addictive.  To say the serve is enormous is an understatement.  The pancake is crisp and crunchy on the outside and slightly spongy on the inside.  It has a faintly sour tang to it and you can see the hundreds of small fermentation bubbles that are cooked into the batter.  It arrived rolled around a curried potato stuffing, accompanied by a sambhar and an innocent looking but extremely spicy coconut chutney.  And how much for this unusual and filling lunch?  $7.  Can’t complain about that!  This is no fuss, no frills eating.

Maha Latchmi is vegetarian.  Most dishes are clearly vegetable but their clever use of soy protein, cauliflower and even paneer (Indian cottage cheese) meant that what I thought was a chicken curry turned out to be vegetarian.  They have a wide selection of Indian sweets to choose from, if you can possibly fit one in, as well a selling them wholesale.  Soothing lassi drinks are also available.

Indian Sweets – not for the faint hearted

Nothing more to say than make sure you visit as you won’t be disappointed by this hidden gem.

Maha Latchmi Sweets & Catering
Level 2 – McWhirters Building
Brunswick St Mall entrance
Fortitude Valley   Qld   4006Visited:  Friday 5th January 2013 – Lunch Service & several other visits

Maha Latchmi Indian Sweets on Urbanspoon
3 comments… add one
  • msjen January 8, 2013, 10:48 pm

    God, that looks amazing. Very impressed that you have sniffed out so many great lunch venues within walking distance of work!

  • Lizzy (Good Things) January 9, 2013, 7:10 am

    Yummy! That dosa look so good!

  • Mattheworbit January 14, 2013, 11:45 am

    Interesting. I haven't had a dosa for a while – but a lot of vegetarian places are doing them these days. I know Vege Rama does, and Gopals too. I don't think I've ever had one…

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