Dostana

In a village as small as Woolton, competition to be the reigning curry house, best chippy and most loved cafe is fierce. The locals (myself included) have grown familiar with their favourite food spots, eat their favourite dishes on the regular and know the ins and outs of the pub drinks list like the back of their hands.


In fact, back when Dostana was still known as The Raj, my family made it a New Year's Eve tradition to visit and order the exact same meal each and every time. My dad, the biggest Indian food lover I know was hilariously proud that the staff in there knew him by name, and once drunkenly asked if they'd name a dish after him (unsuccessfully I might add).


Whilst owner Mubz still welcomes the locals into Dostana like they're his closest pals (even the new name means 'friendship') almost everything else about this place is different now. First of all there's the decor. Gone are the booths, the carpet and the silver platters to make way for a more modern, minimal interior of exposed brick, white walls and twinkling fairy lights. Perhaps the biggest change of all however can be seen in the menu which has transformed into an offering of authentic Mumbai street food including Masala Fish BitesLamb Chops and an Indian take on the retro classic prawn cocktail crowned with enormous breaded spicy prawns known as the Chingri Chop.


The 'Chingri Chop'



Favourites for us were the Chicken Kathi, a spicy chicken wrap made with fresh roti and the Chilli Cheese Toast made with cheddar, red onions and fresh green chillis. Washed down with a few cold beers, it made for an unbelievably tasty dinner option that I'm sure would go down equally as well at lunchtime. Despite polishing off no less than 9 plates of food including curry, rice and naan (another successful holiday diet, I know) it was easy to see how fresh the food was, with non of the tell-tale orange grease of an Indian takeaway splattering my clothes, not an easy feat for someone as messy as me let me tell ya!


Butter Chicken-for those who like it more traditional


Despite the huge overhaul of the restaurant and menu, Mubz has his sights set even higher for Dostana. Over the next few months he plans to transform the outdoor areas of the restaurant with an al fresco dining area out back- something that neighbours Coast Coffee do to great effect, as well as installing a TV screen out front so football fans can watch the match and have their tea at the same time. Perhaps most excitingly of all,  this weekend saw the launch of the village's (and the city's?) first Indian breakfast. With unlimited tea and coffee, this Mumbai take on Britain's favourite morning meal includes spicy scrambled eggs and potatoes and can be made suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike. 


Whilst the idea of Indian Street food isn't a unique one to Liverpool, it certainly is to Woolton and the South of the city. The food at Dostana is absolutely delicious, fresh, light, and made with love. In a village like this, what the owners are doing to stand out from the crowd is not only clever but brave, and for that they deserve every success.

x




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