For the foodies craving spice and culture immersion, a culinary experience awaits only eight minutes away. I have been dining at some of Salt Lake’s best kept secrets since I moved to Utah from New Jersey three years ago, and would like to share one. Located at 2731 Parleys Way, Bombay House sits on top of the mountain like a true Indian palace.
“We are very popular because we use fresh ingredients. We make our own spices here. We grind all the Masalas (spices) ourselves. We don’t buy any from the stores,” said Harpal Toor, one of the owners of Bombay House.
Living only 30 minutes from New York City, my parents exposed me to diverse cuisines by constantly eating out at hole-in-the-wall treasures. Not to mention, both of my parents are impressive Pakistani cooks. I can comfortably say I am a picky eater and tough critic of Indo-Pak food. Although Indian food differs from Pakistani food, I still come to Bombay House whenever my taste buds miss the aromatic spices from my childhood. It is the best I have had in Utah and other fans could agree.
Westminster student, Jessy Davenport traveled to India for a May Term trip and loved the Indian cuisine there.
“It’s like a spicy mush of stuff. I like Bombay House because it has a cool atmosphere. It’s really tasty and has authentic dishes, “he said.
Tripadvisor.com reported that the average price range of the restaurant per person is $8-$15.
“Classy casual” is the dress code. Customers should dress up more but anyone can dress how they like. They do not take reservations for parties less than eight. The wait is not long on weekdays but weekends have a longer wait. On a Saturday at 6:30 p.m., there was a 45-minute wait to be seated. However, the host does a great job of tracking down the party whose name was called.
Traditional Indian décor, elephant artwork, and pieces of Southeast Asian architecture dress the restaurant. The warm and dimmer lighting inside suggest a romantic or intimate ambiance. A Westminster couple, Adam Rainbird and Lia Chiarotti, shared their first date at Bombay House.
“Bombay House is a great place for dates. The food is really authentic, they use the right spices, and it’s the best service I’ve ever had at an American restaurant,” said Rainbird, a New Zealander.
Sharing an intimate conversation is not hard because the restaurant is equipped with plenty of cozy booths with large seating areas as well. It does get loud during busy hours from everyone’s dinner conversations.
The Exotic Menu
Coriander, cumin, fenugreek, cardamom, and fennel give Bombay House their distinct flavor and are a staple of my own diet. Their menu includes vegetarian, seafood, chicken, and lamb specialties. Most vegetarian specialties can be made vegan upon request. Because the cow is considered sacred in India, beef is not served. Specific beer and wines were also chosen to compliment the menu items.
Bombay House’s dishes come out quickly and at the appropriate temperature. Each dish can be made to any level of spice: mild, medium, hot, or very hot.
“The food is really good and I like that it isn’t spicy,” said Sevy Cushing, a Westminster student. “It’s really flavorful without being just spicy.”
If made poorly, Indian food can drown in too many spices. “So many people put too many Masalas (spices) in the food and you can’t even taste it,” said Toor.
Vegetable Samosas are homemade flour dough pastries filled with potatoes, green peas, and spices that are fried. I ask for spice level “very hot” when I order the Chicken Tikka Masala and eat it with the Naan flatbread, which is just one of my favorites.
Wyatt Jackson, a junior, said that “Bombay House is great. Chicken Tikka Masala is fantastic there.”
Any dish from the “Tandoori” section with any Naan flatbread is delicious. Only great Indo-Pak restaurants have Tandoors, which are round clay ovens where meat is grilled on a long skewer inside. Dishes that are made with the Tandoor come out sizzling with onions, bell peppers and a side of rice. Try a Mango Lassi, a traditional fresh drink blended with mangos and homemade yogurt.
I took my best friend, Jessica Meland, with me to try this little taste of India. She ordered the Lamb Boti Kabob Masala, a boneless lamb dish barbecued in a Tandoor oven cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, cream and spices with plain Naan flatbread. Her spice tolerance is far from mine but she was more than pleased.
“When I was asked for the degree of heat I wanted, I wasn’t disappointed with how it was. I really love how flavorful it is but it’s never overwhelming. They’re really great at combining a good mix of spices,” she said.
All desserts are authentic but the mango ice cream and Gulab Jamun, a light pastry ball soaked in a thick sugary syrup, are the sweetest. Kheer, cardamom-flavored rice pudding, and Kulfi, homemade Indian ice cream with pistachios, cashew nuts and cardamom seeds are interesting flavors to the Western tongue.
The service was just right from the beginning to end. Our waiter was polite and helped us select our dishes. I appreciated that our water glasses were constantly being filled. There is nothing worse than watching a friend’s mouth nearly catch fire from the spices and have nothing to help them. Servers take orders efficiently with a handheld device that sends the order directly to the kitchen. The warm ambiance, overall service, and flavorful food all together are worth the price. Get enlightened with the freshest spice blends in town and let your taste buds be enchanted.