Totally biased product review by me — Bombay Bhel

On a cold, rainy night the warm red comforting glow of the Bombay Bhel sign offers hope of a tasty curry in this dramatically soft-focus photo

On a cold, rainy night the warm red comforting glow of the Bombay Bhel sign offers hope of a tasty curry in this dramatically soft-focus photo

Picture the scenario. It’s been a tough day. Work was hectic, someone stole your pork pie lunch from the communal fridge and the commute home on the TTC doesn’t go as planned.

You finally get in, slump in your armchair and put on your slippers. But before you turn on the goggle box for Corrie Street there’s just one word in your mind: curry. (Or two words if you say Ruby Murray to sound harder than you are.)

Where can you go, where there’s various locations and you’ll always get a decent curry? Glad you asked. Bombay Bhel!

I go there a LOT, and it’s one of the best curries for me personally. Two clues to back up that bold, totally biased statement: (1) They spend money on paying the best chefs and not on their website design, and (2) there’s always a lot of Indian customers enjoying the food … not just pasty-white Brits like me sitting alone and looking around trying to pretend I do have mates, but they’re busy that night.

So — onto the food.

First off, let me tell you that if you’re looking for the “English style” curry — all the oranges and reds floating around in copious amounts of ghee — then this is not the place for you. Bombay Bhel has opted for the more traditional type of curry: more browns, slightly thicker in texture and with more spice.

As someone who started off my curry adventure as a teen on Chicken Korma and worked up to a Vindaloo, asking for “slightly hotter than medium please, old chap!” once had me taking cooling air breaths in between mouthfuls — it was pretty spicy. But DELISH!

Another great thing about Bombay Bhel is they don’t scrimp on the portion sizes. I usually have enough of my main course to take half home for lunch next day, but prefer not to put temptation in the way of the pork pie thief at work … so I eat the lot. I’m also a greedy bugger too, so that helps.

As a starter, the samosas are a nice size — crispy with a good, meaty filling — and come with a tamarind dipping sauce. I always get three poppadoms too and ask for the green minty raita sauce and a side of the spicy lime pickle. [Curious fact = the Bombay Bhel I go to never charges me for the poppadoms or pickle! Maybe it’s because I’m a regular there? Not sure. Anyway, it’s never on the bill so I make it up on the tip. Good karma and all that.]

My go-to dish — and the one I drive miles specifically to Bombay Bhel for — is the Chicken Karahi. They cook it in the perfect way, with lots of sauce (a must for me), big chunks of succulent chicken (Jesus Christ, writing this is making me starving now actually) and lots of ginger and onions. Mmmmm! (They always put that little bit of wood in too, that I’m not sure what it is, but must be a spice of some kind. Keep an eye out for that.)

It’s licensed, so you can enjoy a beer or wine with your meal, but make sure you are responsible in your drinking, take a taxi or go with a designated driver. (Just saying that to cover myself legally.)

So, there you have it. One of my personal favourite curry houses and I give it a nose-blowing, brow-mopping, eye-watering Brits in Toronto 5/5 stars.


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