Friday, April 29, 2005

Bombay Talkie



Originally uploaded by lools.

I walked into Bombay Talkie hoping to experience Bollywood in the 1950s and taste yummy Bombaiyah street food.
While the decor lived up to the expectations set by the restaurant's name, I was a bit disappointed with the food.

Located in the heart of Chelsea on Ninth Avenue, Bombay Talkie is hip and very unlike the average Indian restaurant. The air feels fresh and not choked with spices. The all-white bar has a spanking new plasma screening that plays old Hindi movies - without any volume of course. Cocktails have classic Hindi movie names like Umrao Jaan (unrequited love). A larger-than-life mural of a Bollywood scene starring Vyjayanthimala decorates one wall. And the furniture is tres sleek.

Menu options are categorized as street bites (appetizers), roadside (entrees) and curbside (sides). I was disappointed with the selection of chaat items though the bhel puri and pav bhaji were excellent. Portion sizes are really small so it's best to order many appetizers and share with friends instead of getting one dish each. The masala dosa we ordered was horrible. The dosa (lentil crepe) was dry and not at all crisp. The masala (potato filling) was not soft, mushy and spicy like one would have expected.

We ordered baingan bharta, dal makhani and naan for the main course. They were quite tasty (and I especially liked the texture of nigella seed on the naan) but I don't really consider these Bombay foods. This is North Indian territory. Why can't Indian restaurants in Manhattan live up to the expectations set by their names? Who would think that Madras Mahal dishes out the best chaat and that Pongal doesn't actually serve pongal?!!

Bombay Talkie is supposed to be about Bombay. I was really expecting to see vada paav, poha, cheese dosa, corn bhel and other typical Bombay stuff on the menu. I'd recommend Bombay Talkie for nothing more than a few drinks and some nibbles in a fun atmosphere. For some hearty, real Bombay food, I'd head elsewhere.

Bombay Talkie
189 Ninth Avenue, at 21st Street
(212) 242-1900

5 Comments:

Blogger gs said...

it is 6.45am.location-bombay gym.we have just about started some rallying on the tennis court.when one from our tennis group says,"hey guys,let us party".and opens his parcel.and out roll gathiya,jalebi and green chillis.what a way to start a tennis set in the morning. and we top it up with a chota garam masala chai.that is authentic gujerati breakfast or mumbai food!
the bombay talkies concept is good. but then they should be more enterprising and replicate true gujerati,maharashtrian,punjabi or goan food.that is mumbai. a melting pot.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Manish said...

Hi Lulu,

Great food blog! Thanks for the Bombay Talkie review, I've been meaning to check it out (and mayb e I won't now ;) ). Here's another one from the NYT. Also, have you tried Lassi?

2:40 AM  
Blogger Lulu said...

Hi Manish,
Harsha says he wants to check it out despite my review so maybe you should meet him for drinks at Bombay Talkie one of these days :)
Have not yet tried Lassi - it's take-out only but have read about their yummy parathas.
BTW, I love your blog.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Lulu said...

Hi Dad,
Totally agree that Bombay Talkie could offer so much more of Bombay foods.
I shudder to imagine your tennis game after jalebis though.. What's with the jalebis and green chilis flavour combination - never heard of that!

10:51 AM  
Blogger gs said...

i think it is the gathiya that goes with the green chillis and gathiya with jalebi.it is the gujerati way of having farsan,thikha and sweet.3-in-1.
actually,thinking of this pre-tennis breakfast,i played better and even won the doubles game.and i am on a winning streak these days!

9:50 PM  

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