And this concludes the European tour. After this, there won’t be nearly as much updating as before, at least food-wise. However, it seems fitting that the last entry in Britain is an Indian restaurant. After all, how could you not have the national food of a country while you’re there?
(In case you don’t know, for Britain the accepted answer to that is ‘chicken tikka masala’)
For this little excursion, Amaya was the first choice due to rave reviews, but it’s a bit out of our price range. So we settled on a not-too-shabby secondary: Bombay Palace.
Located at the end of Connaught Street (the VERY end, close to Hide Park Street), Bombay Palace does not have a lot of glitz about it. It’s a simple restaurant, with no frills about the interior or exterior. I actually agree with how they represent themselves; it shows they mean business, and let’s them focus on the food more than anything else. The bar is equal parts modern and cozy, and something to look at if you have the time. Service is also helpful. With the menu spanning a couple of pages, it’s certainly mind boggling to figure out what’s what, so thankfully they all know what they’re talking about, and can explain what they are in plain English. I guess I should note that Bombay Palace specializes in Northern Indian food, such as Kashmir and Punjab, so don’t expect a lot of cream here.
The appetizers consist of a variety of meat samplers, vegetable dishes, and seafood. A particular recommendation was the vegetable pakora with chickpeas, which is a very mild but flavorful dish. The spices complement the vegetables very well, and the pakora tastes a lot like a really good falafel to me. Add the lemon zest, and it’s really quite something. The other dish was the scallop peri peri, which was said to be a very spicy dish. The small scallop pieces are juicy and flavorful, and the sauce does have a lot of flavor that adds to the complexity. However, I wish that it was spicier than its current state. As is, the sauce causes a very slow burn, something I completely ignored. Maybe a little more kick in the pants would make a stronger dish. Still, the dishes were strong representatives of the region, and made us very anxious to see what was next.
The curry dishes for the backbone of most Indian restaurants, and there are certainly a lot to choose from here. Classics include the roganjosh (lamb curry), and of course the chicken tikka masala. Britain’s national food of choice is a great dish here, with a rich and creamy curry sauce going well with the tandoor-cooked chicken. It’s very mild, so everybody should be able to eat it, and since it isn’t very strong, you can enjoy all of the other dishes without too much issue about flavors mixing. The roganjosh is also very good, using a blend of herbs and spices to cut the strong taste of the lamb. It’s an intense dichotomy of flavors that goes well with some simple basmati rice, or naan. You can tell that the tandoori is done very well in all of the meat dishes. The meats are flavorful and juicy, not dried out like some places that try to mask it with powerful sauces. Altogether, this makes for much better dishes.
The vegetable dishes may stand out even more than the curry, however. Unlike other variations, the palak paneer at Bombay Palace does not use cream. The intense green of this dish is due to it being a simple combination of boiled spinach and cubes of cottage cheese. The beauty of it is in its sheer simplicity. The other dish, a vegetable dumpling, is similar to the appetizer in taste and texture, but is much stronger in taste due to a richer sauce. Both of these dishes are highly recommended, and I think that vegetable dishes may be their strong suit.
For dessert there’s a simple set of typical Indian sweets to choose from. After a bunch of spicy food, I would recommend something like the kulfi or rasmalai, which are quite cooling and comforting on a burning tongue. These are fairly typical, though, so it’s nothing unique.
In all, Bombay Palace is somewhat overshadowed by other Indian restaurants strewn throughout London, but it remains a very good option for some Northern Indian food. Enjoy the starters and the vegetable dishes, they’re the best of the bunch, but you can’t really go wrong anywhere on this menu.
**Excellent tandoori and curries
**Incredible vegetable dishes
**Friendly staff and service
**Expensive (as is all things in the UK)
**Is very time consuming
**Not nearly as spicy as other Indian restaurants
50 Connaught Street
London W2 2AA, United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7723 8855
Locations throughout the world, including Beverly Hills!