Santhiya, Dominion Rd


Located at the south end of the nondescript-looking rows of shops populating Dominion Road, Santhiya serves wonderfully authentic South Indian food, with a Malaysian twist. Goat curry is their signature dish, and it is amazing, especially in light of how rarely you would find this dish in NZ (the only other place I can think of is one of the stalls in the Sunday night market). The curry is spicy and fragrant, and the goat juicy and tender. Their roti canai is good, but not excellent; Mamak on Chancery serves better roti.

We usually come for the all-you-can-eat banana leaf rice, a special that is only offered on Sundays. Get in there early – they run out of banana leaves pretty often! Aside from the novelty of dining on a banana leaf (which is the norm in South Indian eateries in Malaysia), you get rice, two meat curries (usually chicken and lamb), four veggie dishes (usually including dahl and some grilled cabbage), and pappadam (crispy, large wafers, like tortillas but way better). All of the above are refillable.

The waiters were friendly, polite, and accommodating. Unfortunately, that alone does not good service make. The last time we visited, our drinks took 20 minutes to arrive, and we waited 15 minutes before we managed to flag down a waiter to refill our rice. People who entered after us were sitting and waiting for significant amounts of time at uncleared tables.

Despite that minor drawback, as with many other places on Dominion Road, you get what you pay for – and then some. The banana leaf rice on Sunday afternoon was $16 – a good bargain especially if, like me, your pappadam cravings aren’t satisfied by only a few pieces. The roti canai with dahl or chicken/lamb curry is $6(!!), and my partner’s goat curry was $12.50. The decor is simple, but clean and tidy. The small, 30-odd person occupancy room is lightly decorated, and stuffed to its capacity with wooden tables and chairs. Come here for a tasty, filling meal, not a romantic date night.

Caveat – I drafted this post a few months ago, so things might have changed since then. Which reminds me, it’s high time for another visit… :)


Cost: $10 – $16 pp
Food: 4 Stars
Service: 2 Stars
Ambience: 3 Stars
Value for money: 4 Stars

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