Santok Maa's, CR7 7PA
- 020 8665 0626
- 848 London Road, CR7 7PA
- Mon-Tue: noon-10pm; Wed: closed; Thu-Sun: noon-10pm
Vegetarian Indian restaurant in Thornton Heath. They also do takeaway and delivery. They aren't licensed, but they do BYOB.
The decor and ambience are cafe-style, and it seems to be fine to come in just for a drink. It's quite small, seating about 30 at black wood-style veneer tables with hoop-backed black plastic chairs. The floor is cream and red tiles. The walls are painted dark orange and yellow, and hung with Indian art and signed photos of cricketers.
A small counter with a display of savoury snacks and paan items is next to the door photo, and another counter at the back has sweets and more savouries. Orders are taken at the table, but you pay at the counter at the back afterwards.
Kake visited on a Thursday lunchtime in March 2016. There were three other customers in when I arrived around 1:30pm, apparently regulars, and several more arrived while I was there. No music was playing, but a talk show was on the radio, too quietly to understand over the others' conversation.
Pani puri (£3 for six) photo were mostly structurally sound — only one of them leaked — though very slightly staler than ideal. The pani was sufficiently tangy and spicy, and not too sweet. The solid fillings consisted of chickpeas and potatoes, and I wished for a bit of raw onion to liven it up a bit.
Pau bhaji (£3.50) photo was fine. The vegetables (carrots, peas, sweetcorn, spinach, and possibly potato) were well spiced and well mashed, and the raw onion and tomato on top gave a good crunchy contrast (though I'd have liked just a little more of both). A lime wedge on the side was a nice touch to provide extra tanginess. The bun was fine, though oddly soggy in a couple of places.
Service was friendly. I did have to ask for tap water three times before it came, but when it did arrive they were very apologetic for forgetting (they were pretty busy), and it was fresh-tasting and nicely chilled, presented in a glass jug straight from the fridge.
Cards are only accepted for payments of £10 or over.
Vegan-friendliness: All of the food is vegetarian, and much of it is also vegan. On our visit the owner was going through the menu very carefully with another customer, asking about her dietary restrictions and making sure she was happy with the order.
Accessibility: A tiny step (more of a ridge) to get in. Toilets up three steps then down a very narrow corridor made even narrower by having stuff stored all along it (on our visit, to the point where we had to turn sideways to get through).