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It’s the little restaurant that can
It’s taken me far too long to visit Canada Dosa Corner. I first heard of it from a friend who told me that the Forest Lawn eatery has the best dosas in town. More recently, some co-workers reminded me to be sure to stop by, so I finally made it there.
Bundling up on a chilly Friday night, my husband and I track down Canada Dosa Corner, tucked in next to B&P Cycle shop. We aren’t particularly impressed by the space when we enter, but our very friendly — and busy — server promptly seats us.
Returning with menus, she apologizes for her inattentiveness and lets us know she’s a one-woman show for the night with her chef cooking up a storm in the back. It’s no bother to us. We were warned in advance that things might move a little slow, but we were assured that the Sri Lankan cuisine would be well worth the wait.
We start with the medhu vada ($6.99), a south Indian dish that consists of five fluffy, spiced doughnuts served with yogurt and chutney dips. These doughy delights are delectably savoury while remaining light and crispy. Surprisingly, they are not at all greasy.
From the kitchen we hear the sound of heavy metal blades chopping up our next dish, kothu roti, a traditional Sri Lankan street food. Similar to a hash of sorts, the dish combines Sri Lankan roti bread with vegetables, egg and spices — and we had ordered the lamb variation ($13.99). The generous portion is more than enough for a group of four, and it features a medley of flavours spiked with tender morsels of lamb.
As we’re munching away, our server, Mary (who is also the restaurant owner), brings out a large platter with an impressive-looking dosa perched on it. This thing is huge — it actually extends over the sides of the platter. We decide on the masala (potato curry) dosa ($7.99), but you can order dosas in a dozen assorted flavours, from plain or onion, to minced goat or even ghee (clarified butter).
Served with three dipping sauces, this dosa is definitely delicious. The dough is light, crispy and sweet. The filling is tasty, too — it’s like having an order of aloo gobi in an incredibly large crepe.
We’ve definitely over-ordered. When our butter chicken ($11.99) arrives, I curse myself for getting too much. Then I take a bite. Creamy, with hints of spice, the sauce is rich, the chicken is tender and we now have one more dipping option for our dosa.
It’s almost 9 p.m. at this point and almost closing time at Canada Dosa Corner, but we still want to try two more things before leaving, and order rice pudding ($4.99) and Sri Lankan Chai tea ($2.99). The tea is milky and smooth with lively aromatic spices, and it’s just the right touch after eating a feast. The pudding is the only item I’m not a big fan of. It’s quite heavy with ghee and less creamy than I prefer — a tad too much butter after all that food.
Being the last patrons of the night, we struck up a conversation with Mary. She’s had a rough time of it.
“It’s tough being a Tamil woman,” she says. A mother of seven (she adopted five children after the 2004 Tsunami) and divorced, she’s been shunned by her close-knit family and community, and has limited access to her children overseas. Canada Dosa Corner is her salvation.
Upon coming to Calgary, Mary tirelessly worked in nursing homes and hospitals with catering gigs on the side until last February, when she opened the restaurant with a mission to send money to her children until she can bring them to Canada.
The next time you’re looking to try something new without breaking the bank, head up to Canada Dosa Corner for a truly unique and tasty experience. Not only will you eat well and enjoy the food, but you’ll also be supporting a bona fide Canadian dream.