We visited Bombay Palace for a quick dinner after work on our way uptown. The restaurant is conveniently located on Church and Wellington. It is hard to miss and there is plenty of street parking after 6 pm. Apparently, there is also parking validation, but we were too much in a hurry to find all the details out.
There is a huge sign above the entrance visible from afar. As we walked in, we felt submerged into old traditional surrounding. Faint piano music greeted us along with red carpets and humming of multiple fans pushing a bit stale air around. The furniture appeared antique, tables had sheets of glossy paper covering the table cloth which appeared odd to us.
A very pleasant waiter attended to us within a few minutes, dropping off a worn out menu. We found the selection overwhelming. There were definitely a lot of vegan or gluten / nut / lactose free options to choose from. It, however, was not immediately obvious to us which dishes were spicy or not. As we were blankly staring at the menu, as our water and rice breads for snaking arrived.
We ended up interrogating the waiter on what choice will be less spicy and he recommended Onion Bhajis (aka Bombay Palance’s Legendary Onion Fritters) and Chicken Korma. The air around us was got stuff as we waited for our food – open windows are great, but sometimes air conditioning is the option to go. There were quite a few people in the dining room. Some tourists from US, a large South-Asian family, a few couples scattered around. At the same time, it was about 30% full. There might be a lot more people coming out to check out their lunch and dinner buffets.
We were in a hurry and asked to expedite our order. It did arrive in under twenty minutes indeed. The Onion Bhajis were served with a side of mint sauce and tomato paste. A very flavorful and filling choice, onions were deep fried with chickpea flour, cilantro, curry batter. Our Korma had a lot of sauce with not as much chicken as we expected. Large chunks of garlic decorated the dish. It was still spicier than we would have preferred. The meat was tender and the sauce made an excellent dip for the garlic naans we also ordered. The naans had tons of oil with some herbs sprinkled on the top. Definitely filled with aroma, but not for everyone. For semi-dessert we took chai tea with milk. It was warm and quite sweet.
We feel somewhat hesitant to go to a new ethnic food place sometimes. There are food options we never heard of, tastes we did not yet experience… on top of that, there is a layer of tradition guiding though how all this should be consumed properly. Bombay Palace is a friendly place for a person looking to get more acquainted with South Asian cuisine. We would recommend to shakeup the waiting staff for more information about their dishes – they were not too forthcoming in our opinion. At any rate, a worthwhile restaurant to check out at a very convenient location.
PS: our cheque came in an adorable vintage box with a built in calculator. It looked like an expensive jewelry of a medieval maharajah was tucked away inside it just a few moments ago. That is if there were calculators in medieval India, of course. Still, charming!