Bombay Talkie — Taking Street Food Inside

25 Oct

One of the most popular vehicles of food-creation has been street food. Street food emphasizes quick, small, and delicious dishes–and often one’s that are true to traditional, ethnic cuisines with a bit of “hipness” injected. This all rings true with Bombay Talkie–except it’s a sit-down restaurant.

Don’t get the wrong idea, Bombay Talkie offers plenty of traditional Indian entree style courses, but they proudly feature a list of “street bites” that could easily be transplanted to a marketplace beyond the concrete jungle. The “street bites” menu boasts plates like papdi chat, bombay bhel, pau bhaji, vada pav, frankie rolls, crab cakes, ginger pork kebobs, kathi rolls, and dosas.

I went for the crab cakes and a dosa with lamb. The crab cakes featured crab (of course), mashed potatoes, onions, a cilantro breading, and a tamarind chutney dipping sauce. The dish was a solid idea mixing traditional Indian flavors with the Maryland staple. While the exterior appeared crispy, it wasn’t as resilient as a crab cake should be. The “fried” fell off as soon as I cut the crab cake, leaving me with a little fried and a little mush. A better execution would have resulted in a very interesting dish.

The dosa, which is a rice and lentil “crepe,” is a much more familiar Indian dish. Unlike “crepes,” the rice and lentil dosa brings more unique flavors to the table than its wheat-based cousin. Bombay Talkie’s version was stuffed with minced “tart lamb,” and accompanied by contrasting tamarind chutney and cucumber raita dipping sauces. While the dish was tasty, it was a chore to eat, and I found that most of the meat ended up on the plate instead of my mouth.

In addition to the two “street bites,” I also ordered the classic chicken korma, pork vindaloo, and garlic naan. The korma was creamy, but the chicken was a little too firm. The dish also lacked the “entree”-size portion its $17 price tag suggested it should have. The vindaloo sauce was only moderately spicy, but its consistency was more similar to a salsa than a sauce. Unlike the chicken in the korma, the pork was appropriately tender–but the portion was still too small for its cost ($18). Lastly, the garlic naan had a real garlic kick to it and looked like an individual-sized pizza (a good portion).

Bombay Talkie certainly has some tasty offerings to foodies craving new-age Indian “street food,” but the menu prices are just too unreasonable, and there’s a good chance you’ll leave unfulfilled and significantly poorer.

189 Ninth Avenue
(212) 242-1900


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