Mumbai seems to produce excellence in Indian chefs. If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that Moksh in Cardiff Bay, headed up by Mumbai-born Stephen Gomes, is one of my favourite restaurants in Cardiff. However, after a recent visit to Bombay Grill Indian Restaurant on City Road, Cardiff, I discovered that Stephen isn’t the only talented Mumbai chef to have brought his culinary genius to Cardiff.
While Bombay Grill isn’t quite comparable to Moksh (it’s a different kind of dining experience altogether), the food definitely has an upmarket flair that you wouldn’t expect from your average curry house (especially not one on City Road) and the interior is classy, yet casual. Earlier this year, Bombay Grill was shortlisted as a finalist in the South Wales Echo Food and Drink Awards (Best Indian Restaurant), The Welsh Hospitality Awards and Food Awards Wales. Restaurant Manager, Delwar Hussain and Head Chef, Abdul Kadir are both originally from Mumbai.
Dishes include both staunch Indian classics like tikka massala, korma and bhuna, and creative dishes such as piri piri xacutti (fiery chicken tikka bhuna with piri piri sauce), lamb shank aam (lamb shank in creamy coconut and mango sauce), fish jolfi (seabass in a herby, medium tomato-based sauce, with potatoes) and a range of Indian-themed burgers. Prices are very reasonable, with starters ranging from £3.50 to £4.95, and mains costing from £6.95 to £14.95.
A Cobra beer with my usual dash of lime (£2.95) served to quench my thirst as we read through the menu, while my friend Sarah stuck to coke (£1.50) as she was driving.
The obligatory poppadoms (95p each) and chutneys (50p each) did a great job of staving off our hunger pangs. I couldn’t get enough of the lime chutney, which was nice and spicy – just how I like it.
I started with a dish that reminded me of something I’d eaten in India, the reshmi kebab (£4.95). A small mound of mildly spiced, aromatically flavoured lamb mince was wrapped in a small, soft omelette. A traditional Muglai dish, ‘reshmi’ translates to silk in Hindi and this relates to the soft, velvety texture of the meat. This was certainly an enjoyable kebab, although not the same as the ones I’d had in India, which consisted of skewered chunks of meat or chicken dipped into a mixture of cream, yoghurt and cashew nuts before being cooked over charcoal in a tandoor oven, so each piece was encased in a rich, nutty coating.
Across the table from me, Sarah devoured the mixed starter (£4.95). A delightful trio of crispy, tangy onion bhaji (always a good indicator of a decent Indian restaurant) and succulent, slightly sweet chicken and lamb tikka set the standards high for the main course to follow.
Speaking of which, I tucked into the raan akbari (£14.95), a traditional Mughlai dish comprising of an unlikely concoction of slow-braised lamb shank with a lightly spiced, fragrant butternut squash curry sauce. I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of indulging in such a superbly cooked lamb shank; the meat simply slid off the bone upon contact, proceeding to practically dissolve in our mouths. The mellow butternut squash curry sauce was the ideal companion.
Meanwhile, Sarah opted for a meat-free main in the form of the palak paneer (£7.95). A generous helping of cubed paneer in a mild spinach and onion curry sauce, garnished with sliced red onion and fresh coriander, this looked just as appetising as my meaty curry.
To go with our curries, I ordered a bowl of plain pilau rice (£2.95), while Sarah had the mushroom pilau (£3.25). Both servings were deliciously light and fluffy, with a subtle hint of cardamom and cloves. We particularly liked that the mushroom had plenty of bite to it; only too often, it can become soggy when chopped up and mixed with rice.
Our main course was completed by a cheese-stuffed naan bread (£2.95). This was as soft as a cloud and the indulgent cheese filling was very satisfying. It was plenty big enough to share between two; in fact, we didn’t quite manage to polish it all off as we were so full from our mains.
Bombay Grill Indian Restaurant is well worth a visit, whether you’re after a traditional curry or something more unusual. It’s far from fine dining, but it does have a touch of class that many other curry houses seem to lack and it is very affordably priced. It would also be a great go-to for a takeaway – after writing this review, I’m half-tempted to order one myself!
Bombay Grill Indian Restaurant & Lounge
24 City Road
(029) 2048 1665