Around the world for $8.75: Foodside adopts new Indian-inspired menu

Foodside’s newest concept menu impresses students with bold flavors


Third year’s Foodside cafe switched from Mexican food to Indian food recently. Photo by Jess Kishbaugh, ’23.

Joe Gilmor

As the fall season gives way to winter, the culinary staff at Foodside, upper division housing’s premier dining establishment, have released a new Indian-inspired concept menu to warm the hearts and fill the stomachs of the student body. Despite the large shoes left to fill by the previous season’s La Cantina, Foodside’s Masala menu has garnered a mostly positive reception amongst students, with only a few complaints. Here are some of this season’s greatest highlights, as well as a few critiques for campus’ most controversial dining establishment. 

The food variety may not be spectacular, but Foodside does provide enough options to make return visits an enjoyable experience. Bases of rice or greens can be topped with your choice of four mains, which includes a balance of two meat and two vegetarian offerings (one of which is vegan). A large variety of cold toppings—everything from diced mango to roasted beets- are also available to customize your order. 

However, the variety is disrupted by the lack of sauces. Rather than providing a varied boost of flavor to complement each dish, like the four distinct dressings on offer, Foodside’s only sauce options – tikka and spinach sauce – seem uninspired and monotonous, blending into rather than enhancing the dish. Spice fanatics should also be wary; while a handful of items such as spiced pumpkin seeds and cherry pepper aioli are offered, they are generally lacking in spice content, and far from what one would expect from any typical Indian restaurant. In short, Foodside does a good job of providing a variety of options for students of different dietary preferences, but fails to deliver for foodies and niche eaters alike.

If you’re looking for suggestions on how to build your bowl this season, here are some of the best options on the Masala menu. First, start with the turmeric lemon rice. Light, fresh, and packing an added zing, there’s really no other option (assuming you can stomach the carbs). Next, I’d recommend the ginger braised lamb. 

While an argument could certainly be made in favor of the masala grilled chicken, the lamb greatly benefits from a longer cooking time, allowing it to develop a complexity of flavor which its grilled counterpart cannot hope to match. If you’re feeling a bit gourmet, try topping it off with some cilantro-mint chutney for a classic pairing which is fresh and delicious. As far as toppings are concerned, you really can’t go wrong as long as you try the pickled ginger; in a dish with such a variety of flavors, it makes a great palette cleanser. Finally, top with tikka sauce and enjoy!

While Foodside’s Masala concept menu may not be a resounding success, it is still worthy of the establishment’s reputation as one of the best places to eat on campus. Whether you are looking to break up the monotony of D-hall or just curious to see Washington and Lee University’s take on Indian fare, I’d certainly recommend a visit to Foodside to taste their latest offerings for yourself.