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Bombay Palace (Restaurant)

Picture of Bombay Palace in Paddington, London

50 Connaught Street, Paddington, London, W2 2AA
Cuisine: Indian
Tel: 020 7723 8855 | Email to Bombay Palace | Transport: Marble Arch | Write review

Bombay Palace Review

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Best for: the best authentic Indian cooking in central London.

Great: fist-sized Tandoori prawns!

We were on the search for that most sacred of treasures: perfect food.

The hustle and bustle of over-anxious shoppers along Oxford Street slowly but expectedly dissipated on our long walk to Marble Arch. The throng of people ebbed away on an undercurrent, before rushing back as we approached Primark. Heads bowed and shoulders firm: it’s the only way to force our way through the tide of brown paper bag-clutching consumers.

Out the other side, on dry land, and with only a couple of significant scratches and bruises, we were finally free to draw breath and consult our trusty iPhone map. We quickly located the X on the map for Bombay Palace restaurant, location: Connaught Street, London. We set sail on our quest to find it.

The landscape changed dramatically as we neared the elusive Indian restaurant. Bustling roads turned into tree-lined, quiet streets. My hopes for the night’s meal fluctuated between dreading a stodgy, calorie-laden ghee-soaked curry – the type that is popular at your local Indian restaurant at midnight on a Friday night – and fleeting hope for something different and inspired. I’m a fan of Indian cuisine – specifically Southern Indian cuisine – and I know Indian cooking can be done successfully if treated with the respect it deserves.

We finally found the restaurant, perched at the corner of the street. It sits modestly opposite Hyde Park, the park taking most of the stunning charm away from the quietly humble restaurant. Scaffolding climbs the side of the building, a telltale sign of work in progress, and overshadows any of the restaurant’s location potential. However, scaffolding is temporary, and I firmly believe it’s what’s underneath that counts. If we disregarded all oysters, we’d never find any pearls. And I’m a fan of pearls.

The restaurant is deceptively large, larger than it appears from the outside. It is all white tablecloths, pristine cutlery and smartly-dressed waiters that fuss over the people sitting down. When we arrived, the restaurant was mostly empty, bar a raucous family that spoke and leaned over the table to share food from each other’s plates. I instantly relaxed. Indian food, in my humble opinion, should be enjoyed loudly, shared generously, and eaten as if no one is watching.

I decided early on to hand all responsibility over to the waiter for my food. I gave him carte blanch to order whatever he thought I may like, based on two little things: my love of seafood (in particular, prawns) and my love of fresh food. My ordering at Indian restaurants is generally questionable and always repetitive. I tend to veer towards staples such as vegetarian samosas and spicy tomato-based chicken dishes. However, on this trip I was on the hunt for treasure, not familiarity.

And what turned up was truly gold. Regardless of location, venue or attentive service, I would travel to the ends of the earth for the couple of the dishes I was served at the Bombay Palace that evening.

The use of tamarind in many of the starters – such as in a chutney with the onion bhaji – turns an average starter into an exceptional one. Our truly extraordinary starter came as a Dahi Batata Puri, four lentil puffs stuffed with a tangy (there’s that tamarind again) mixture of potatoes and black peas and finished with sweetened yoghurt, mint and tamarind chutney. It came dressed with strawberries, which shouldn’t have worked but, against my better judgement, did.

I thought I was satisfied. I could have left the restaurant after the starters a happy and content girl. Until, from the kitchen, they brought out four sizzling tandoori prawns, each the size of my fist. These prawns were awe-inspiring and slightly intimidating. Side dishes of smoked and spiced aubergine and black lentils were wolfed down and mopped up with Poori, a deep fried and luxurious Indian bread. Now, that’s truly satisfying.

Not one dish was saturated in ghee. Instead, all were cleverly cooked, spiced and loved. I was on the hunt for treasure, on the hunt for gold. And there, in the delicate and intelligent Indian cooking that sat before me, I found it.
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Venue ID: 16428

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"Brilliant club good music nice owner and brilliant door staff" Which venue is this?

Hated

"Not real food micro wave dishes for green curry like soap with Indian rice not correct as I travel in Asian 6_7 months of the year very upset with cheap nasty food better off with a wimpy burger at £5..." Which venue is this?

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