Bombay Mahal, a Parc-Ex joint specializing in Northern Indian cuisine, is extremely popular amongst locals. The wait during its peak hours can be long because it’s always hustling and bustling with a diverse group of people who recognize good Indian food at affordable prices. Many believe it’s the best Indian restaurant in town, and while I can’t vouch for this, I’ve remained a loyal customer since my first bite all those years ago.
I usually begin any Indian feast with Samosas, deep-fried triangular pastries stuffed with a mixture of peas, potatoes and spices. Here, the complimentary sauces, tamarind and coriander, are really runny, so I omit them. The spicy samosas are pretty good, probably some of the better ones around town. They taste great cold (i.e. refrigerated leftover), so I always make sure to place an extra order for the road.
The Masala Dosa is crepe-like and filled with a spiced potato and vegetable mixture. When rolled, it’s about a third of a meter in length, but the filling is only concentrated in the midsection. The accompanying Sambar is supposedly a saucy stew, but here it resembles a runny vegetable broth – not impressive. Overall, the masala dosa is kind of tasty, but definitely forgettable. It’s one of the features the restaurant takes great pride in, but I don’t really know why.
Naan is a clay oven-baked flatbread that I eat with everything and anything. I just LOVE it. This time around, I eagerly dipped shreds of it into a lumpy and unappealingly green but delicious Palak Paneer (spinach and cheese) and a delectable orange-brownish Baingan Bharta (eggplant curry puree) – both dishes wonderfully executed.
Tandoori Chicken is a very popular dish where the chicken is traditionally marinated in yogurt, lemon juice and spices, and then cooked in a clay oven (tandoor). I rarely order it because it’s dry for my taste and surprisingly bland for an Indian dish, but today I was in the mood for it. It’s served over a bed of iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, onions and tomatoes. It tasted exactly like I expected, but when eaten in with naan, any saucy dish and Raita – a refreshing yogurt sauce to cool the palate; it proves to be quite satisfying.
Chicken Biryani is a one-pot wonder whose main ingredients are basmati rice and chicken. Here, the rice is fluffy and the chicken is plump. It’s vibrant in color, flavorful and very filling. It’s definitely one of my favorites.
Bombay Mahal and I have some history - it was actually my first real Indian Restaurant experience. Since my first tasting several years ago, I’ve eaten at other popular places but I find comfort and complete satisfaction in coming back to this dully decorated establishment for a fix – I guess it’s just hard to forget your first.
1001 rue Jean-Talon Ouest | map