Food – Zest is more than spice

2010-11-13 13:09

Tucked away in a dark, uninspired corner at Joburg’s Rosebank Mall, the Bombay Blues restaurant celebrates all that is Indian in cuisine.

From different breads and dips to a variety of fish, lamb and chicken dishes on the menu, if you have the time and the inclination to hunt it down, Bombay Blues is the perfect setting for a quiet night out.


With over eighty items to choose from, it does create just enough time for patrons to salivate over their choices. The starters alone consist of more than 15 dishes ranging from soup to Tandoori chicken. My partner and I settled for the chilli chicken and the stuffed paratha paneer, a traditional Indian goat’s milk cheese. It was delicious. The cheese was soft and grainy, but came together with a pungent mint chutney. The paratha absorbed the chutney as we dipped it into that minty goodness.

The chilli chicken, slivers of poultry flavoured with green chilli and garlic, had a slight kick to it. The chicken was tender, juicy and cooked in a traditional Tandoori oven.

Chuffed with our selection of starters we went all out for the mains. Big mistake. I went for the gosht kalmiri masala lamb – a curry made in a tomato and onion gravy with black peppercorn-spiced lamb, and opted for a missi roti to go with it.

My partner chose jingha goa curry, a fish curry in a coconut milk mixture accompanied by a rumali roti, which is a plain flat bread.

We were disappointed.

My roti was unlike anything I had tried – spicy, yellow in colour and topped with fresh coriander and onion. It was about the only delectable part of the main course.

The lamb was undercooked, bloody and rather fatty. I couldn’t eat it, because the rawness of the meat didn’t entice me to eat much further.

The fish was underspiced and the coconut flavouring not nearly strong enough, probably because they used the meaty King fish for a thin coconut milk concoction.

Still hungry, we hoped for a better dessert and were thankfully not disappointed. The gulab jamum, which is really a ball of dough deep fried and served in a sugary syrup, was the sweet satisfaction we needed. My friend went for a firm favourite – the mango lassi – a smooth fruity drink which was refreshingly light.


The waiters were helpful in clearing dirty crockery and explaining what to expect from the rather technical menu. Upon leaving it took a while to get the waiter’s attention to get the bill as he flirted with his colleague. The service was good but the quaint eatery was not exactly buzzing with customers. The waiter added a service charge to our bill without telling us, so we ended up double tipping because we had not read the bill properly. But then again, the bill did state the “Gratuity of 10% not always included”. Very cheeky.


The mood and setting of Bombay Blues is a typically Indian feel. The heavy curtains and overlays are in rich golds and reds. The restaurant is scattered with various Hindu gods and the music is classic instrumental Indian music. It’s dark and intimate, and can accommodate a romantic date, a family outing and a quiet business dinner. Perhaps the most interesting part of the restaurant is the glass which surrounds the Tandoori chef who deals mainly with the breads and skewers.


Expect to pay between R30-R70 for starters, over R80 for mains and between R24-R55 for desserts.
Extras such as rotis, naans and condiments are charged separately and come in at around R12-R30.

Rating: 6/10

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