Bombay Club

A favorite local Indian eatery finds a new home
By ROBERT NADEAU  |  June 9, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

Previous Bombay Clubs (Harvard Square and Quincy Market) have always done a lot with breads. The celebrated peshawari naan ($5), stuffed with fruit and nuts, has been reclassified correctly onto the dessert menu, so we went for a methi poori ($3.25) with dinner. Methi is green leaves of fenugreek, a slightly bitter herb, but it doesn't do much in these two beautiful puffed pillows of fried whole wheat. Order this one for how it looks.

Don't, on the other hand, order the kheer ($5) until they put some flavor back into it, nice as the original rice pudding looks in a martini glass. What you want for dessert is the gajjar halwa ($8), a carrot sweet evolved into a warm mound of shredded carrot "cake" structured with pizzelle and a ball of vanilla ice cream.

Actually, my favorite dessert was ras malai ($7), a/k/a Bengali cheese balls. Though this dish doesn't usually excite, these are fresher and softer than even fresh mozzarella. Bombay Club also hedges with a chocolate lava cake and mango mousse cake ($8), which I thought too dense and not strong on mango flavor.

The ideal drink for desserts may be the masala tea ($2), which is the original chai without as much cream and sugar. The ideal drink with the rest of the meal is Flying Horse beer ($6/22 ounces), a clean pilsner with an apple-like malt aroma. A couple of possible white wines, Yalumba viognier ($7/glass; $14/half carafe; $27/bottle) and Huia sauvignon blanc ($9; $18; $35), from Australia and New Zealand, respectively, were both served too cold, which damped down the spicy aromatics they would need to stand up to the milder Indian dishes. I got some flowery notes out of the Huia as it warmed up, but the Yalumba stayed slightly sharp on the palate.

Early reviews of the new Bombay Club expressed regret at the loss of the late-night drinking scene at the now-defunct Pho Republique, which formerly occupied this space. I had come to accept Pho Republique's combination of quasi-Asian food and neo–Trader Vic décor, but as an early diner, I think Bombay Club's space and scene are an improvement. The owners have kept a couple tokens of Pho's chinoiserie, like the double-prop ceiling fans and the giant gong, as well as the rough-plank flooring, but have mostly redone the room.

Service our night was excellent, but this may have been helped by having the restaurant half-empty. The other half had been reserved for South-Asian celebrants of a wedding, who were coming in as we finished. With all the different sauces, the cooks will never be bored, but they may be taxed if the late-night crowd comes back hungry.

Robert Nadeau can be reached at  robtnadeau@aol.com.

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