Our local Chennai Express began in November 2018, when entrepreneurs and chef-patrons, Sagar Barlawar and Vamsi Madireddy, brought the tastes of authentic Southern Indian Street food to Basingstoke.

Originally from Hyderabad, India, famous for its street food and biryanis, the gastronomic duo graduated from Osmania University in culinary arts and then opened the Chennai Express, in Wote Street, Basingstoke.

After four years of operation, the Chennai Express has taken Indian regional cooking to a new level, extending its menu of truly authentic dishes.

What is so distinctive about South Indian Food?

Basingstoke Gazette: Perfect taste of South IndiaPerfect taste of South India

Southern Indian food is light and healthy, avoids too much ghee, cream and butter and uses a very fresh approach to cooking. It has the distinct taste of fresh herbs and home-ground spices.

Being one of the youngest of 18 Indian restaurants in Basingstoke, it is easy to understand the challenges it faces. Reflecting on these, chef-patron Sagar said: “There were numerous occasions when customers seemed hesitant to enter our restaurant after checking the window menu, because the dishes were not familiar to them.’’

Chef-patron Vamsi added: “Initially, some visitors even accused us of NOT being an Indian restaurant, as people were expecting to see dishes like dhansak, jalfrezi, vindaloo or pasanda, none of which were on the menu. 

"However, times have changed, and we are grateful that customers gave our food a try. We now feel delighted that our efforts have not been in vain, and Southern Indian food is truly on the map in Basingstoke."

The traditional street food experience

Basingstoke Gazette: Tandoor ( Clay oven) specialsTandoor ( Clay oven) specials

The unique decor includes wooden panels, tin and bricks, all of which replicate the roadside restaurants of India. The lunch menu of traditional street food includes a splendid variety of thalis and a selection of dosa. In the evening there is a change of tempo, with a varied dinner menu, extending to more starters, curries, a delicious range of tandoori dishes and sumptuous homemade desserts.

The restaurant also offers diners the unique experience of an open kitchen, cooking happens live, right in front of the guests.

Vegetarian, vegan and dietary options

Basingstoke Gazette: Fully licenced bar Fully licenced bar

The Chennai Express specialises in vegetarian and vegan food and offers a separate vegan menu; the choice is astounding. The restaurant also caters for diners with a range of dietary requirements (gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free options are all available). This is a truly inclusive restaurant for dietary preferences, ethical food choices, cultural tastes, and health needs.

The unique Chennai Express experience

Basingstoke Gazette: Hyderabadi dum biryani served in a clay potHyderabadi dum biryani served in a clay pot

One of the most helpful things about the Chennai Express is its long opening hours, starting at 11am and staying open until dinner. There are menu choices for children. So, whether it is a working lunch, family meal or intimate dinner you are looking for, throughout the day or evening, the Chennai Express will cater for you. After sampling its extensive menu, it is not surprising to discover that it has won multiple awards and holds a well-deserved 5-star overall rating on Facebook and 4.5-star rating on both Google and TripAdvisor.

For more information, do check the website: www.chennaiexpress.co.uk

19 Wote Street, Basingstoke, RG21 7NE 

01256 591059