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.
189 Ninth Avenue, at 21st Street