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A Guide to South Indian Cuisine at Swad Restaurant

01.14.2015 by: Travis Sandoval
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North Austin is home to many authentic Asian restaurants serving up dishes the mainstream has yet to discover. This can be a little intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with the cuisine and lacking a qualified tour guide. This week I took a tasty adventure through Swad Restaurant, a South Indian diner immensely popular with vegetarians. Very few, if any, restaurants in Austin offer this regional cuisine, so the menu may be pretty confusing. While I may not be a certified culinary guide, hopefully my trip can be a primer to your own adventure.

The main menu is split between appetizers, dosas (crepes), and pakoras (fritters). Most dishes are made up of deep fried pastries and breads stuffed with potatoes or beans. With low prices and minimal descriptions, you’d assume the plates are on the smaller side. Actually, the dosas are huge and can feed at least two people. For a pair of diners, you may want at least two appetizers and a dosa.

The savory little Samosas and a dish of Dahi Vada.

During my visit, we started off with orders of the Dahi Vada and Samosa. The Dahi Vada is a fluffy fritter served in a dish of yogurt and chutney. The mix of sauces creates a milky texture that’s both lightly sweet and spicy. The samosa is a fried pastry filled with potatoes and peas and served with a spicy chutney. It’s a savory snack you’ll definitely wish you had more of.

 Swad Restaurant 

The dosas are large lentil crepes stuffed with vegetables.

For our main meals, we tried the Paneer Dosa and Hydrabadi Dosa. The Paneer Dosa is a crisp lentil crepe stuffed with potatoes and cottage cheese. The Hydrabadi Dosa is stuffed with potatoes, onion, cilantro, and a special blend of sauces. Both dosas come with tomato and coconut chutneys and a small bowl of a spicy lentil soup.

      

The Thali Special makes for a great shared platter.

Another popular item on the menu is the Thali Special, which makes a great shared platter for a group. It comes with poori (a puffy deep fried bread), roti (a flat bread similar to a tortilla), and papadum (a thin and crispy flat bread) along with several small bowls of sauces and vegetables.

    Swad Restaurant    

A look at the restaurant's interior.

From the outside, it’s easy to brush off the restaurant as some divey hole in the wall and the interior is definitely no-frills. If you’re unsure about certain menu items, there are large photos lining the room that can help give you a better idea. The staff is very friendly and approachable but the service is a little hands off since you order and pay at the counter. There’s even a table off to the side with pitchers of water to help yourself. This makes it a little more cumbersome to ask questions about your meal. 

Take your tastebuds on an adventure and check out Swad this week!

Swad Restaurant Facebook Page

TAGS : Northwest Hills/Arboretum/ Domain , Swad