Friday, April 9, 2010
I have driven past Bombay Cafe too many times to count. Although many people have told me how authentic the food is at this modest place, I never made a point to stop and try it myself until today. Part of my hesitation to having a meal here is that it is located on a very busy intersection and the interior seemed a bit stark. As it turned out both points were the only bad parts this restaurant because even with very uncomfortable chairs, paper place mats, and metal serving dishes, I would go back for the food.
Bombay Cafe offers street food from the Northern, Central, and Southern parts of India, so the menu has a bit of everything. They offer several lunch specials until 3pm which include vegetarian and meat dishes of varying degrees of spiciness.
I chose the Cauliflower Franki combination ($13), which is the Gobi-sabzi (cauliflower sauteed with green chiles, ginger, ground coriander, tumeric, and cumin), two chutneys, mixed with lime, cilantro, and onions wrapped in a home made egg washed "tortilla". It was served with three pieces of the appetizer Sev Puri, which are small crackers topped with onions, potatoes, three chutneys, and crisp chickpea flour noodles (in the picture they look like rice). Sides included house made pickled cauliflower, a tomato, cucumber and onion salad, and nice raita (yogurt sauce with onions).
Every item on my plate made my taste buds dance with joy. The cauliflower in the Gobi-sabzi had a complex subtle heat that paired beautifully with the cool raita. The tomato, cucumber and onion salad had a nice vinegary pungency that was just strong enough to make it highlight the richer flavors on the plate. The outstanding Sev Puri was so simply addictive, I was tempted to order some to take home. The service is friendly, warm, and efficient with nice touches like a lime slice in the glasses of table water.
If this is Indian street food, maybe we can get them to join the food truck craze and literally take their food to the streets of Los Angeles.