When I was having lunch a while back at Mount Everest Restaurant, I struck up a conversation with another woman about Indian food and she recommended Bombay Cuisine, the little restaurant next to the Indian store, Milan.
They shut down for a while to remodel and I gave them a try this week.
The all time great drink here is the badum-pista-nu-dudh. It is milk with ground up pistachios and almonds that is spiced with cardamom and saffron. Very delicious and the ground up nuts in it give it a pleasant texture.
They make a nice mango lassi with a touch of some sort of black spice that gives it a fragrant note. The drinks were so good, I thought Id try salty lassi for the first time. May or may not be good since I never had it before. I didnt like the tangy thin yogurt drink. They have a few other drinks like sweet lassi, chai-chah, and mango juice.
I havent tried the beers yet but they carry Himalaya blue, India Special, Golden Eagle, Karma, Dabnsburg, Kingfisher and Taj Majal. There are a few other domestic and imported beers.
Lunch and dinner have a three Thalis vegetarian, meat/veggie, or 2 meat curries.Thalis include dal, puri or chapati, rice and assorted pickles. At dinner there is a small sweet added. Some of the thalis include pappadam.
Yesterday I had the deluxe Thali. Today I went back to try a few of the appetizers.
I know very little about Indian food, so there are probably better places, but I enjoyed the food more than the few Indian restaurants I tried.
I never had fresh from the fryer puri before. Im addicted. What a lovely fried dough, puffed up like a balloon and a little flaky. Ive been wasting my time with naan. The only puri Ive had before were those little pre-made ones that are use in chaat.
Thanks to chowhounds for answering some of my questions before dinner tonight. There are only two Gujarati appetizers on the menu.
The patra, described as steamed toro leaves, fried, hot & spiced. It looked like two fried pieces of eggplant, but that was the only similarity. The patties were made out of layers of leaves, topped with toasted sesame seeds and chopped fresh coriander leaves. There was a nice tamarind sauce with it. It was a little crunchy on the outer edges and I cant think of a think to compare it to. I liked it and would order it again.
Khaman Dhokla described as steamed chickpea squares, reminded me in looks and texture of cornbread. It was sprinkled with ground coconut that looked like sugar and some fresh green leaves. It came with the green chutney made of coriander leaves and chili. There was a lot of this, nine one inch squares. Im fighting myself not to put honey butter on it like cornbread. I compromised and bought some plum chutney. This had a nice savory quality to it with a touch of heat. I keep thinking turkey stuffing.
The dahi varda white lentil pakora, sure looked pretty. Four little white lentil meatballs were in a bowl of very good mild home-made yogurt and topped with tamarind and red chili sauce. The texture and taste of the pakora wasnt too my taste. It was the color and texture of angel food cake rolled into meatballs but made of ground lentils. There was no detectable taste in the pakora themselves. Im guessing they are a vehicle to soak up the yogurt. The remaining three pakora are currently bathing in the sauce in the fridge. Id say this appetizer serves four. Actually it could serve eight IMO as I think most people would be satisfied with half a pakora.
I got the Masala chicken because it was described on the menu as chicken with green spices. A separate dish was chicken tikka described as chicken with spices. So it appeared they split the chicken tikki masala into two separate dishes. Work with me here. I know nothing about Indian food.
Out comes my Masala chicken in a red sauce. I think it is a mistake, but the server says nope it is red even though it says green spices. So I say this is just chicken tikki masala, eh? Yep.
It was actually a good version. The sauce was thick and nicely spiced. I liked it, and all of their food better than Naan and Curry (havent tried the naan here). There is a lot more meat and the sauces taste better to me. The meat tends to be chewy and a little dry, but there is a lot of it. It is not all sauce and little meat.
I prefer the curries at Indus Village and Curry Corner better because the sauces are more complex and the meat is tenderer. However, as I said, Bombay Cuisine is a level above the few Indian restaurants I tried.
The hot chapatti is good with nice char marks, but the puri is just so great that it is the better roti to order.
The yellow ground lentil dal was thin, the consistency (but not taste) of butternut squash soup. The spices were peppery curry and there was a richness of ghee and a slight sweet finish.
The mango chutney was good with a touch of heat. The Basmati rice was a little drier than I prefer.
I forgot the name of the sweet. It was ok, sort of like a sweet potato. They also have gulab jamin which Ive never been fond of, so I didnt try. The third sweet was ras malai Indian cheese in saffron-flavored milk with nuts.
This place looked like such a dump from the outside before the remodel. They did a very nice job and it is a pleasant and handsome restaurant. The colors are tan, black and cinnamon. Tables are covered with tan table cloths, the chairs are black leather. Walls are half tan and half cinnamon. Pleasant Indian music plays in the background. There is a big screen tv where they played Indian music videos on my first visit.
The service is well, they get the food to the table and will answer questions if you persist. However, the appetizers are $1 - $3 dollars, so service isnt a big deal as long as the food gets to the table. The service is nice enough though, just not chatty.
It is in the process of being certified as a green restaurant. Green restaurants produce less air pollution, help reduce health care costs, use less paper, cut down less trees, help reduce our landfill fees, and use less toxic chemicals at their facilities.
The rest of the menu is simple. Im going to have to learn how to upload scanned menus into Menupix so I can just link to that. Actually that would be a nice feature in the new Chowhound the ability to upload menus. Too late to suggest?
Well, for now, heres the rest of the menu:
Pakora Chopped onions, potatoes, chili, deep-fried in tangy garbanzo batter
Samosa stuffed pea and potato turnover
Lentil vada Chana Dal (grain), onions, fried
Bataka Vada spicy mashed potatoes dipped in garbanzo batter and fried
Aloo Parantha spicy mashed potatoes stuffed in whole wheat bread
Sada dosa - rice flour crepes
Masala dosa light spiced potatoes, peas, carrots, stuffed into rice flour crepes
Onion utapam rice flour pancakes topped with onions
Mutter paneer cheese cubes with green peas in tomato sauce
Baingan Bhartha Eggplant curry with green peas
Saag Panner lightly spiced cheese cubes with puffy spinach
Vegetable Kofta fried vegetable pakoras dipped in curry sauce
Vegetable of the day
Malai Kofta Fried potatoes with cheese diped in cream curry
Chicken curry Chicken with onions, tomatoes and spices
Chicken Vindaloo Chicken blended with spices
Palak Chicken Spiced chicken with spinach
Saffron chicken Spiced chicken with saffron
Lamb curry lamb with onions, tomatoes and spices
Palak lamb lam with spinach
Lamb Vindalo lamb blended with spices
Prawn Curry Prawns with onions, tomatoes and spices
Fish grilled fried halibut
Biryani vegetable, chicken , lamb or shrimp
Thats it. Descriptions of dishes courtesy of take-out menu.
I stopped by Milan, the market next door, for the first time. From time to time people ask for British items like specific teas or Heinz products. Indian groceries are a good place to find these items.
2006 9th St
Berkeley, CA 94710
Lunch: 11:30 2:30 (not sure if it is seven days)
Monday Friday: 5:00 8:30
Saturday Sunday: 5:00 9:30
Heres an old article that talks about some Berkeley Indian businesses including Milan