It’s rare to find a restaurant that improves over time, but Indian bistro Bombay Spice Grill and Wine made a great “third or fourth impression” on us recently.
On our first visit to Bombay Spice about two years ago, they were still working out the kinks. This was at the Glendale Rd. location, which has since closed – leaving only the restaurant at Tatum and Shea in front of the Paradise Valley Whole Foods. During that first visit, they served us chicken instead of a vegetarian item, the samosas were cold inside and the curry was bland. We made one or two more unremarkable visits after, but haven’t been back in ages due to our love of Udupi. We recently noticed that they have an entire vegan menu online, and thought we should give them another try just as a reward for catering to vegans. We were pleasantly surprised by an outstanding meal.
The main difference between Bombay Spice and a run-of-the-mill Indian restaurant is that the food isn’t greasy. Everything tastes fresh and comparatively light, dramatically reducing the typical after-effects of eating spicy Indian food. They also offer plenty of clearly-marked gluten-free options on the menu.
With a whole vegan menu to pick from, decisions on what to order were tough! I initially questioned why the vegetable samosas were not on the vegan menu. The waitress and chef could not think of any ingredients that weren’t vegan, so they assumed it was an oversight and we ordered them.
At Bombay Spice, the samosas are baked, not fried, but they tasted just as good as less healthy veg samosas. The tamarind sauce was great, and they offer extra spices in salt shakers on the table.
My husband decided to order a few “tapas” instead of a full meal. He selected the seared tofu, vegetable paratha and lentil cakes, which ended up being more than a meal.
My favorite was the vegetable paratha, but all of them were great. I suspect the white goo on the lentil cakes may have been yogurt though, so ask for it to be left off before you order it.
One of the unique aspects of Bombay Spice is that you get the option to order two entrée items as a plate, bowl, roti taco, lettuce wrap or side. I ordered a rice bowl with lentils and spicy veggie curry.
It tasted as gorgeous as it looks. The lentils were lightly spiced with cumin, while the vegetable curry was hot and full of a wide variety of fresh vegetables. I also liked that they offered brown rice instead of just starchy white basmati rice. The piece of papadum down the middle was a nice touch as well.
Bombay Spice also features decent $6 glasses of wine for those who chose to indulge. And to top it off, they offer vegan mango sorbet for dessert — if you have any room left after the meal. We didn’t!
Bombay Spice may not fit the traditional Indian restaurant mold, but it certainly doesn’t disappoint – especially for vegans. It’s great for people new to Indian food, and also for anyone who wants a healthy dining experience with lots of spice.