Saturday, November 26, 2011

Montreal's own Mahal! - Bombay Mahal

Bombay Mahal is one of the many Indian restaurants on Jean-Talon street in Parc Extension, but definitely not one of the most eye-catching. In fact, this restaurant would have been very inconspicuous, tucked away in a corner, if it weren't for the crazy line-up in front of its doors. So why would people still line up at 8:00 pm on a cold November's night? Yummy, spicy Indian food for very reasonable prices!

I've only had 'Indian food' twice in my life: once at a food court, once in a buffet, and neither quite telling. I've had my sights set on Bombay Mahal for a while, but because I never get a hankering for Indian food and because the restaurant is so far, I've never felt motivated enough to visit it. Luckily, one of my friends really wanted to try Indian food and dragged me over to Parc Ex and manhandled me into wait in line for half an hour in the cold. Okay, not really, but you get the idea.

Accessibility - Grade: B
Just the fact that it's on the blue line already makes it inconvenient to get to, since you can only transfer onto the blue line from two ends of the orange line that are nowhere near downtown. This means that it's a real pain to get to if you're on the green line. But once you get out of Acadie station, it's about a five minute walk away.

Service - Grade: B-
Since there were a lot of people, the service was brisk. There were few smiles and few words exchanged, but everything was efficient and quick. At the end of our meal, when I asked to take out the foods we hadn't finished, the waiter cracked a joke and told me it would be an extra $5. Problem was, his expression was just as serious as when he took our order, so I had no idea if he was joking or not...

Food - Grade: B+
Mango lassi

We both ordered a mango lassi, and it was absolutely delicious. It was smooth and creamy, but with the thick consistency and slight sourness common in yogurt drinks. All this is mixed with the nectar sweetness of mango juice, and you get a very yummy drink. Because it contains dairy, it's also a very good buffer to all the spicy foods you will consume.

Vegetarian samosas

The samosas were pretty good, but tasted much like the other samosas I've had. The outside was crisp and flaky, but underneath, the skin was doughy and chewy. The potato stuffing was seasoned so that it was spicy (hot) enough to tingle the tongue, and had plenty of flavour.

Lamb Korma

I ordered the Lamb Korma, which consists of large chunks of lamb cooked in a creamy yogurt curry. The lamb was surprisingly lean and most of the game-y taste had vanished, giving it a very beef-like texture. It still retained its distinct lamb taste, though. I thought the korma was pretty good, but very rich and filling. I also expected it to be more spicy, but instead, it had a subtle sweetness to it.
Naan bread

I ordered a batch of naan bread to accompany the korma. The nan was soft and layered, with a nice buttery fragrancy to it. The surfaces are baked so that it's crisp while the inside is fluffy and chewy. I've yet to have a naan bread that I didn't enjoy, and Bombay Mahal's is no exception.

Butter chicken

My friend ordered the Non-Veg-Thali with Butter Chicken, which contained butter chicken, vegetables, salad, a piece of tandoori chicken, rice and naan bread. So basically a bit of everything. The butter chicken was good, with large chunks of chicken breasts marinated in a yogurt-tomato curry. Maybe it was because I tasted the much heavier korma before tasting the butter chicken, but the butter chicken seemd a little bland. Still, my friend seemed to enjoy it.

Vegetable side

I'm not sure what this particular side is called, but it was good. I only had a small taste, but there were a lot of flavours going on in there. It consists of various vegetables cooked with spices until everything blends together. Definitely very tasty; it was my friend's favourite part of the thali.

I had a picture of the tandoori chicken, but it turned out very blurry. I didn't get to try it, though, but my friend didn't seem too impressed with it. She said it was too dry for her taste.

Price - $$ (Note: Cash or Debit only)
The prices are very fair here. A dish is usually $9-$10, and the sides (such as naan or rice) are around $2-$3. The mango lassi was $3, and they weren't stingy with the portions. We ordered three mango lassis (one for take-out), one Non-Veg-Thali with Butter Chicken, one Lamb Korma and two orders of Naan bread and it came up to around $40 in total before tips. It's definitely an affordable restaurant suitable for students.

Final Grade: B+
My friend and I were both pretty happy with our meal. The only thing I would have changed is to order something less creamy and more spicy next time, because the creaminess tends to get heavy after a while. Again, I can't comment on how authentic the food is, but my tummy liked it, so all's good with me!

Bombay Mahal
1001 Rue Jean-Talon Ouest, Montréal
(514) 273-3331
Bombay Mahal on Urbanspoon


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