Just about 2 years ago, I have heard about a Dosa bandi (cart), which opens around 3AM and serves Dosa until 6AM, or until the Dosa batter is out. I did not believe it, as I was wondering who the heck would want to eat Dosa at 3AM (though secretly, part of my soul was shouting why not?). I had asked Radhika, if she wants to join me for 3AM Dosa. She said, “Absolutely Not. Only deyyalu, pishachilu eats during that time”. She meant, only ghosts, demons, devils, vampires, and other such creatures eat during that time. I argued, they might not be vegetarians like me. However, I had not given up the crazy idea of exploring the phenomenon of splurging on Dosa at 3AM.
My team and I @ Cigniti debated many times to explore this place, during one of those late nights when we work on a RFP or a mega proposal or something. Finally we did it this weekend. I announced to my team during daily stand-up meeting on Friday, “today is the day, we are going to try Dosa at 3AM”. Only 3 brave members of the team said “Yes”, rest politely said, “Will try”, which in India, most of the time means “NO”. Since we had no late night calls that evening, to beat the challenge of waking up until 3AM, we planned for a last movie of the night, which screens at 11PM @ InOrbit mall. I found the movie “The Chef” to be screening at 11PM. I booked for 6 tickets. I sent a message to Revanth, if he wants to join for a movie and 3AM dosa, and said he can bring his friends. He replied instantly, “Yes. How many can I bring”. I said, “As many you want”. He replied and said, none wants to join, because of exams. I sent a note to Kaushik, who is a foodie like me, and who once contemplated to join my madness for Dosa. He said, “Count me in”.
We all met at 10:45AM at InOrbit mall. What a coincidence? Central theme of the movie THE CHEF is around the passion for good food. It is about a chef (played so well by Jon Favreau) who loses his restaurant job, starts up a food truck, in an effort to reclaim his creative promise. I felt as I am watching the food network, more than half of the time, but still loved it. Some of the scenes, specially the scene, where Jon whips a cheese sandwich for his son, further increased our hunger for early morning Dosa. We walked out the theater at 1:15AM. Kaushik, Revanth, and I drove to my home at 1:30AM, as we still have another hour to kill. Radhika was happily sleeping upstairs, and was unaware of our madness. We started from our home, for Dosa at 2AM. As we approached the car in front of the house, I have realized that Radhika will wake up, by car’s reverse alarm, and she might discourage our rendezvous. So, we drove the car forward, so far such that reverse alarm of the car would not wake her up.
Avinash, Harsha, and we three drove in separate cars, and followed each other to Karachi Bakery are at 2:40AM. I saw around 50 folks already waiting anxiously for Dosa bandi to arrive. There were few dozen motorcycles, few cars, and vans. I also saw about 4 girls/women waiting with their friends. At 02:45AM I saw Dosa cart in the middle of the street (see the photo). It appeared as if it arrived from the sky. People were watching it as if they saw Moon Landing for the time. Dosa crew took about 10 minutes to warm up the Dosa pan. Few dozens of folks swarmed the cart. Everyone shouting and pleading, “Ram”, “Ram”, “Ram” and asking him to take their money for the Dosa. I asked Mantri, who exactly is “Ram” in the crew. He said, everyone is called as “Ram”. I wonder, if some of these folks chanted “Ram” so many times in a temple, their karma balance would sky rocket.
While Dosa pan is being warmed up, we grabbed plate of Idli’s. They were fresh and fluffy, and covered with lots of liquid chutney. It was quite an effort to get a plate of Idli. One really need to fight, threaten, beg, and plead “Ram” to get his attention. Next challenge was to get the Dosa. They whip about 24 Dosas at one time on two giant pans. However, there always seem to be much more folks waiting in the chaos for their turn of Dosa. Kaushik volunteered to be the Abhimanyu to penetrate the circle, braved for 20 minutes, in front of hot pan, to get Dosa for all of us. He almost got tanned in 15 minutes with the heat from the pan. Rest 4 of us formed a human chain, so that he can pass the 5 Dosas.
15 minutes looked forever. I was never been so anxious, even for my Green Card in USA. As we saw some brave souls coming out of the queue with a Dosa in hand, everyone were looking as if that person got a date with Miss Universe or something. I was also thinking, “Why the heck” we need to go thru this madness for a Dosa at 3AM. Why do we need to beg and plead for Dosa, as if we are not paying for it. After 12 minutes, Mantri shrieked, “Hurray”. I thought we got the Dosa. He said, “No. Ram accepted our money”. It was like as if “I-485” application approved, which was one step ahead of Green Card.
After about 20 minutes, we got the Dosas. They were fully loaded with Ghee. Folks were saying, “This is one of TOP 10 Dosa Bandi’s you need to visit, before you die”. I was thinking, one would actually accelerate the process of dying, if they eat such type of Dosa at 3AM. I was told “Ram” knows his frequent customers, and gives preference in the queue. I am not falling for it. This is going to be my first time and last time for such a Dosa. I would not rate Dosa as the best Dosa I have had. I also do not recommend this place, unless you are also tracking DOSA BUCKET LIST and tracking all the raved places in town. 3AM Dosa did mess up my day. If someone asked why my eyes looked red, I told them I am suffering from DOSA LAG. Jokes apart, I do not recommend the habit of trying ghee loaded dosa at 3AM in the morning. Yes, it is over rated a bit. I see this type of Dosas are being served in most weddings too.
I still rate Laxman Dosa as number one, which is open during “human hours”, and which I recommend to visit max once an year, given that it is most caloried dosa on the plan. I already reviewed Laxman Dosa more than a year ago
Here are some of the snaps from Dosa @ Devil’s hour.