Bombay on the Lake

September 29, 2010

Though we’ve eaten at Bombay on the Lake relatively often, I’m not too familiar with anything on the menu other than the chicken vindaloo, plain basmati rice and garlic naan. But that’s really all I’m familiar with at any Toronto Indian restaurant (if it’s not a buffet). The fact we’re repeat customers tells you all you really need to know. The food’s good. But you’d better like your vindaloo hot.

Unlike some places which annoyingly tone down the spice for the gora and gori crowd, Bombay on the Lake doesn’t believe in mollycoddling. I don’t like my molly coddled. Especially not in public.

The only bad experience we’ve shared at Bombay had nothing to do with the restaurant itself. It was a hot day about a month or two back, in the middle of one of this summer’s many humid heatwaves. We were too hot to cook dinner ourselves and we gambled on them having A/C. They didn’t. But they did have one of those great tower fans that, as long as they blow on you, work almost as well.

It wasn’t pointed right at us when we arrived but it had a revolving base. I positioned it so that it’s sweep reached our table as well as the others which at that time were still unoccupied.

The table beside us wasn’t unoccupied for long as a trio sat themselves there shortly after our order was taken. Their party consisted of a couple and a female friend who sat across from them and complained, vehemently, about the heat. She saw the fan and said, “Oh, here’s a fan!” and pointed it directly at herself. “That’s better. Thank god they had this,” she said, seemingly oblivious to the fact that no other people in the room, not even her friends, were going to benefit from the fan’s cooling effect.

Looking up from her menu, the woman’s companion made brief, wary eye contact with me then, with an embarrassed manner, angled the menu to hide herself from my view. I was about to say something to the fan-stealing woman, but I decided against it at the last moment. She was roughly the size and shape of a large manatee.

I wasn’t sure if manatees are as vicious as hippopotami are reported to be, but I didn’t want to risk it. She looked a little like a hippopotamus as well, but less muscular and more flabby. And with the demeanor of a one-eyed, arthritic alleycat.

When I got home, Google informed me manatees are not especially dangerous. I should have spoken to the woman about her theft of the fan. The meal would then have been another perfectly delightful Bombay on the Lake experience. Or she might have bitten my head clean off.

Either way, it was still an excellent vindaloo.

Dundas Dining: North of Bombay

February 5, 2010

North of Bombay, one of four Indian restaurants in The Junction,  has one of the most confusing entrances of any restaurant I’ve ever seen. Two sets of completely reasonable looking doors.

Luckily, I’ve spent over a year staking the joint out so we didn’t make the mistake of trying to open the wrong set of doors. Also luckily, we were seated where we could watch people make that exact mistake. And a final piece of luck, a slight embarrassment with choosing the wrong set of doors is bound to be about the only drawback to your visit to North of Bombay.

We started with some amazing vegetable pakoras. These orgasmic little bundles of deep-fried delight were practically a meal in themselves.  I dare say they performed several positions of the Kama Sutra on my tongue before sliding easily down my throat.

After that divinely sensual experience of greasy starch, we shared a chicken vindaloo which leaned towards the tomato side of vindaloo and entirely away from the potato end of the spectrum. It was a nice change from the “this is just our darker, hotter curry” school of vindaloo—a school I’m a big fan of, mind you—which you normally find in Toronto. Yet it wasn’t as amazing as the pakoras had been. It was merely a very good vindaloo.

The naan bread was also top notch, clearly made from scratch, and authentically delicious. But speaking of authentic,  there were oddly no Indian beers available. I don’t believe there were even any IPAs on the list (Keiths sure as hell doesn’t count). So we had Guinness, but from bottles, sadly, not on tap.

The staff were competent, helpful and pleasant. There was nothing, really, to complain about (aside from the beer menu). One of our better Dundas Dining experiences.

4.5 vindaloos our of 5 pakoras

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