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'Mauritian food is something else'

Last update - Thursday, July 9, 2009, 12:10 By Katrin Schmidt

Katrin Schmidt meets Peter Audit of Dodo, a new Mauritian and Indian restaurant in Dublin that - despite the ongoing recession - is no endangered species

Just three weeks ago, Dodo – Dublin’s first restaurant and coffee shop combining Maur-itian and Indian cuisine – opened its doors on Parnell Square.
The restaurant is a labour of love for Peter Audit, who manages the business with his cousin Vinnie Magal.
When Audit came here from Mauritius seven years ago, he fell in love with Ireland from the first moment on.
“The people were very welcoming and really friendly,” he says. “And there are a lot of interesting places all over Ireland, for example you have Glendalough and the Cliffs of Moher, which I really like.”
Being so fond of Irish culture, Audit wanted to bring his own home culture closer to the Irish people by offering them the traditional Mauritian food.
“There are a lot of Mauritian people here who feel homesick and are glad to experience a sense of home through our food,” he explains. “But we also want to offer Irish people something that they’ve never tried before – the Mauritian taste.”
Indeed, introducing new people to his home culture and food is one of the aspects he enjoys most about his job. “I like to speak to our customers and give information about Mauritius because many people don’t know where Mauritius is,” he says.
“Some have never heard about Mauritius and most of them are tasting Mauritian food for the first time. But when they come here they ask more about Mauritius.
“We would be happy if more people come to our restaurant, because we’re providing good food and good quality. And our Mauritian food is something different.”
The customers at Dodo when I visit seem to be satisfied with the menu. “I really enjoyed the food here, it was so delicious,” says one woman enjoying the vegetarian fried noodles. “I like the fact that this restaurant offers both Mauritian and Indian food.”
Audit confides that, like most others in the restaurant business, the recession has made things harder.
“A lot of people are not earning that much money, so they’re not spending as much as they used to spend and can’t afford to eat out at lunch,” he says. “But they still need to have a social life.”
To encourage more people to come and try his Mauritian and Indian cuisine, Dodo’s manager has been strategic about his prices.
“You could say we have Mauritian prices,” he says. “Compared to most Indian restaurants, our prices can be seen as a very good deal.”
And there’s going to be 10 per cent off every bill, which Audit says will run for the rest of July.
Home is where the heart is for Audit, who says he misses his family and the good weather – and most of all, the Mauritian beaches. But he has consoled himself with a more local substitute.
“When I have my day off I often go to the beach in Malahide,” he says. “One day I was actually really impressed because there was a sign at the beach which said Mauritius!”
At the same time, he hopes that his restaurant will encourage Irish people and others to take an interest in his homeland.
“Our business brings Irish, Mauritians and people from other cultures closer together. And people might want to go for holidays to Mauritius after they visited our restaurant. I think people would love it if they went to Mauritius for holidays because it’s just a beautiful place.”

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