Saturday, April 7, 2012

Restaurant review: Bombay Cafe, Singapore

When I'm in the mood for some savoury and spicy Indian snacks, the one and only place that comes to my mind is Bombay Cafe. This 'Bollywood' themed authentic Indian vegetarian restaurant offers a wide array of chaats (Indian street food), snacks, South-Indian, North-Indian and Indian-Chinese dishes. When it comes to the quality of food, variety and value for money, it may be considered one of the better Indian vegetarian restaurants in Singapore. 

The color palette of the interior of the restaurant is primarily a combination of bright pink and black with posters from Indian blockbuster movies adorning the walls and ceiling. This restaurant has its own distinctive style. In keeping with the flamboyant Bollywood theme, there are wall mounted television sets showcasing the latest Hindi songs. I often wonder how someone unfamiliar with Indian cinema perceives the whole song and dance routine! They must find it all quite amusing. I often catch the non-Indians glancing at the tv screens with bemused expressions on their faces! Jokes apart, the ambiance of the restaurant is relaxed and it is a different sort of dining experience to what you would be used to.

Bollywood-inspired interior

I am a regular here and there are a few items on their menu that I order without fail. For instance, I always order the gobi manchurian. For those of you who are not familiar with it, gobi manchurian is the most popular association with Chinese food that you can find in India (apart from noodles maybe). It consists of cauliflower fritters tossed in Chinese-style sauce. It is a dish that has undergone an adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to suite Indian tastes. Even the name of the dish is not original! The gobi manchurian that you get in Bombay Cafe is the best gobi manchurian that I have had outside India. It is spicy, crunchy, has good portion size and is delicious. And to top it, they don't use food coloring in it (something I appreciate very much). I would highly recommend this dish to anyone planning to dine at this restaurant. 

Gobi manchurian

The other dish that I always order is the ragda patties. Ragda patties are basically potato patties served in a green pea gravy topped with various garnishes and a light drizzling of a spicy and sweet chutney. If in case, you have checked out my ragda patties recipe post, you will know that I am a huge fan of this dish! The best part about the ragda patties that you get in Bombay Cafe is that it comes in a small serving as well. This is a great option because you will be seriously full by the time you chow down 1 regular sized plateful of ragda patties and then be left with very little space for anything else.  I understand that this option is no longer available.

Ragda patties

One of the other chaats that I like is paapdi chaat. This chaat is yoghurt-based and has a certain sweetness to it which offsets the tartness of the yoghurt. It might not be to everyone's liking but for those who like their chaats on the sweeter side and don't mind yoghurt, they would enjoy it.

Paapdi Chaat

I am a paneer-oholic and I can eat anything made out of paneer (Indian cottage cheese). One of my favourite dishes in the whole world is paneer tikka but occasionally I like to try something else for a change. I like the paneer pakoras at Bombay Cafe. I've ordered them quite a few times. They are deep fried to perfection and sprinkled with a dash of chaat masala which gives them a spicy and tangy kick.  

Paneer pakoras

The vegetable hakka noodles that you get here is really yummy. Somehow, I have never been entirely happy with the noodles I prepare at home so I know how to appreciate a bowl of good noodles! I generally save some of the gobi manchurian and eat it along with the noodles as a side dish.  I've ordered the crispy vegetables along with my noodles in the past and even though it is a pretty good side, I'd prefer my original combination any day. 

Veg Hakka Noodles

Crispy Vegetables

If I ever happen to order rotis/naan, one curry that I order most of the time is malai kofta. I just love the one you get here. It is actually finger-licking good. It has a lovely creamy texture, is aromatic and packed with flavor. This is what I would call good comfort food. The last time I was at Bombay Cafe, I ordered it with garlic naan and it was a great combination.

Malai Kofta

Another item that I really enjoy is the masala paneer paratha which is served with plain yoghurt and pickle. The last time I ordered it, it was a tad salty but it had a symphony of flavors which made it delicious . I have sampled the aloo paratha and gobi paratha as well but I feel that the paneer paratha is the best of the three. It can be eaten just as it is and doesn't really need any accompaniment.

Masala Paneer Paratha

The menu also has a variety of sizzlers to choose from. I ordered the kabab sizzler once but was sorely disappointed with it. This is a dish that can serve 2-4 people. It consists of assorted kababs served on a sizzler plate with black dal, rice and roti or naan on a sizzler plate (which in our case was more like a hot plate). To begin with, it looked really messy (in contrast to how it is depicted on the menu card). The other problem is that the dal is poured over a ridiculously large bed of rice so when your roti/naan arrives, you will be like " I supposed to eat this with dal soaked rice???" The kababs were decent enough and the dal was flavorful but this dish really needs to be presented properly.  The awful quality of the photo is because I snapped it with my phone (I had forgotten my camera at home) and unfortunately I won't be ordering this dish again in the near future!  

Kabab Sizzler

The salt/sweet lassi lacks consistency most of the time. Sometimes it is good but other times it can be sour and in case of the salt lassi, they can sometimes get heavy-handed with the seasoning and cumin powder. However, the mango lassi has always been nice whenever I've ordered it. I tried the Shikanjvi once (a lemon-based spiced drink) but it was not to my liking at all. If you prefer a hot beverage, I would suggest you go for the masala tea. It is quite refreshing. 

Mango Lassi

Masala Tea

During one of my first visits to this restaurant, I had ordered bhel puri and boy! was it spicy! It did have a chilly symbol warning on the menu but I arrogantly thought I could handle it. I was wondering if most customers felt the same. However, recently when I tasted it again, the spice seemed to have mellowed down considerably. The channa batura is good. I distinctly remember it being served with black channa (which I didn't like much) but now it has reverted back to the regular channa and I like it much better. I remember ordering the palak paneer dosa once. I don't know what I was thinking but oddly enough, I did not expect to see a dosa filled inside with palak paneer! But the palak paneer was divine so I actually ended up enjoying the dish. The things they stuff into dosas I tell you! In general the dosas at Bombay Cafe are ok. This is not a restaurant which is famed for dosas so it would be better to try the other items on the menu. In my opinion, if you stick to the 'Sadak Chaap' and 'Indian Chinese' sections on the menu, you will be sure to have had a unique meal which you will thoroughly enjoy. 

Bombay Cafe has three restaurants in Singapore - one on Tanjong Katong road, one on Syed Alwi road (opposite Musthafa) and one small outlet in Suntec City Mall. This is not a very big restaurant so I would recommend it for couples and small families. If you are fond of Indian food (particularly chaats) and if you have a penchant for spicy, you have to visit this restaurant. And don't let the vegetarian tag hold you back! When it comes to Indian food, some of the best and most well-loved dishes are purely vegetarian :) 

My rating for this restaurant would be 3.5 out of 5

Bombay Cafe
79 Syed Alwi Road
Singapore 207658

Tel: +(65) 6396 6452
Fax: +(65) 6348 5580
Website: Click here

     Note: This is not a sponsored review. The comments and opinions in this post are solely my own.

1 comment:

  1. i remember the gobi manchuri, ragda patties n mango lassi, super yummy!


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