Dosa wish your lunch was hot like mine- Little Kochi, Roath, Cardiff

I like to think I have outdone myself with the cringe title – the only way is down after this (particularly if you read on).

Anyhow, back to the matter at hand although I shall digress some more before we get there (as is my want).

So no longer having an “office” to go to (with me working from home 100% of the time, when I feel like it) has its disadvantages and advantages.

My commute is now about 10 yards, which is great (I am close this year to having walked further than I have driven as a result of no longer using the car to commute – not even I am that lazy and how would I get the car in the house anyway, although a scooter 🤔) and the dog loves having me home all the time (Mrs. SF not so much 😬).

The boy’s spot under my deak

On the food front without easy access to town (and my old free parking space) my trips in for lunch have been drastically curtailed. With lots of new and interesting stuff opening (and old favourites still there) that is definitely a negative, but on the plus side I am able to make sorties into the “burbs” for my lunch time needs

One such sortie took me over to the mysterious east of Cardiff and Little Kochi.

Been wanting to try this place for ages, but my attempts to get there (particularly of an evening) have been stymied for various reasons. At lunchtime I tend to be more of a solo diner so am pretty flexible and a slow day in the office had me thinking where shall I go for lunch.

Little Kochi, having recently (well on my glacial timescales, I was probably 456789th to the punch) extended their opening hours to lunch time, popped into my head.

So off I trundled in the (still going) jalopy, parking up by Roath Park to get my steps up.

Nice looking place inside, which has the sort of look of the interior of a Keralan rice boat (always fancied a trip on the Kerala backwaters – my next big birthday Mrs. SF wink, wink, nudge, nudge – and the boats have seen in the glossy brochures look a bit like the inside of this place, if a tad smaller).

I love a lunch menu (rather than a “this is the dinner menu at lunch menu“)

and it is nice to see one as varied and reasonably priced as this one. Should it be your want, you can eat for less than a fiver here (if you go for the porotta or chapatti wraps, other than beef) and these days that is a total bargain.

After toying with the idea of a beef roast meat lunch box, I settled on a dosa (hence the excruciating post title). Fancying something with a bit of a kick I went for the Spicy Dosa (£8.99 – more on that later).

Absolute whopper this, with the plate a large one and the fork to the side giving scale, which is not what you tend to expect on a lunch menu. I like that very much, but the test is always in the taste.

Lovely, light, crispness to the dosa, with it encasing a very decent sized portion of mustard seed and curry leaf infused mashed potato and carrot. Some mung beans in the mix also I think.

It came with a veggie curry and 2 chutneys

There was spice in there, but not heat at the levels (high) that I generally associate with Southern Indian cuisine. A tingle on the taste buds rather than a fanning of the face (tempered for our western sensibilities or was it the masala dosa, I wonder). Not sure it warranted the spicy moniker, but perhaps that was for the best at lunch time.

Nice loading of the veg in the curry and some good robust spicing in there, but the stars of the show were the tomato chutney and, particularly, the coconut and green chilli chutney.

The latter had a lovely freshness to it, with a pleasing backnote of chilli heat. Really liked this and would have happily eaten it on its own.


The drinks menu is all a bit pedestrian. I would have liked to have seen stuff like lassis, sherbets, chai, nimbu pani, etc. for non drinkers rather than cola, fanta, Fever Tree and J20

On the booze front, the wine list is a bit boring and I would say not really that tailored to the food menu, with no rieslings, gruners or chenins (all good with spicy food). Would have been nice to have some Indian wines on there too, with plenty of it made in the South of Indian these days.

With the dosa, one of the sauvignon balance or the Italian rosé on the list would probably be the best bet wine pairing wise (there are some very good sauvignon blanc out there, but the industrially produced stuff can be pretty dire- ditto re rosés).

Mark up wise, the wine prices are OK. The Pa Road sauvignon blanc retails at about £13 (£32 on the list here), the Alpha Zeta rosé is £8 retail (£21 on the list) and the Kaiken Malbec is around £11 retail (£29 on the list – I would advise against drinking high alcohol reds with a chilli heavy curries, to be honest, as they tend to clash horribly).

I went for the mango juice (£2),

which I would guess, based on taste and price, was from concentrates. Perfectly fine and cheap, but as I said above I would have liked some more adventurous options.

The verdict

I rather enjoyed by lunch at Little Kochi, which may be the little by name but certainly big on flavours and portion sizes.

What I got sated me nicely for the rest of the day and for the well below £10 price tag I think that makes it pretty good value. Keen to return to try the wider lunch menu and the more extensive dinner offering.

On the price point, I think I owe them a couple of quid. When getting ready to pay I realised I didn’t have my wallet on me and in my panic that they wouldn’t accept Amex (only thing on my phone) didn’t check the bill (so pleased was I at not having to do the washing up and being in a mad hurry to get back to check I had left it at home rather than lost it). By my reckoning the £8.90 (when I did look at it) they charged me was a good £2.99 short based on what I ordered. Next time I will add it to the tip for sure.

Great lunch option if you are in that neck of the woods or, like me, a bit further out and have to drive (I manage to park up, not too far away, pretty easily).

The details

Address: 78 Albany Road, Roath, Cardiff, CF24 2RS



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