Some Like It Hot: Bombay Kitchen
Bombay Kitchen: Indian Street Food
5228 Monroe St., Toledo
In a previous life, my apartment building sat catty-corner to an Indian restaurant. As a public school teacher in a big city, my income was limited, and that neighboring Indian restaurant offered an all-you-can-eat carryout buffet for $5. Filling up a styrofoam clamshell container, with as many options as could be crammed into those three sections, provided me with enough food for at least two meals. I was a regular.
While the Toledo area has several phenomenal Indian restaurants, West Toledo had none prior to the opening of the Bombay Kitchen. I sorely missed the convenience of a delicious, affordable Indian meal. When the announcement was made that Bombay Kitchen would move into the space previously occupied by Amango on Monroe Street, which is only a short drive for me, I was beyond excited.
Rita Jassal opened Bombay Kitchen for this exact reason: “I always wanted to own a food establishment, and when we came here from New York, we didn’t find any Indian restaurants in this part of town. We thought, ‘This is an opportunity to explore what people get in other parts of the country.’” While Peter and Rita’s extended families have owned restaurants and they were “always involved on some level,” Bombay Kitchen is their first venture as restaurant owners.
Peter Jassal confesses, “We are liking it, but the timing was not perfect. We opened in March 2020, and the very next day, we were closed due to coronavirus restrictions. Things were a little tough--and still are--but the local population has been very supportive.”
Bombay Kitchen is a franchise, and the franchise company, Rajbhog, which means ‘royal feast,’ stuck to traditional and cultural lines, offering strictly vegetarian Indian food. The Toledo establishment is the first one in the entire U.S. to include traditional Indian meat dishes.
Date night, quarantine style
Since the start of COVID precautions last March, my husband and I have had one date night. We rode our bikes down the University/Parks Trail with the intention of having a beer at Patron Saints Brewery and then dinner at Sidon Grille, but a flat bicycle tire when we arrived at Patron Saints put a hitch in our plans.
A month later, we attempted a second date night, this time inviting our friends to our porch for a sampling of Indian food from Bombay Kitchen. Each couple ordered selected dishes with the intention of sharing.
Naan can compete
For appetizers, we ordered the aloo samosas, fried pockets of dough filled with peas and potatoes, as well as lamb samosas, similar pockets filled with spiced lamb. We also included papri chaat, a blend of chips, sprouts, spice, yogurt and chutney. My husband prefers the lamb samosas, and while they are delicious, I can’t get enough of the aloo peas and potatoes. Each fried pocket is the size of a fist, and there are two to each order. Ordering a curry dish to accompany the aloo samosas, could feed me for two meals.
The papri chaat was new for me, but I will be adding it to my ordering rotation as I enjoyed the crispness of a salad but the spices and heartiness of a meal.
We dipped garlic naan in our various curries: aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), kofta curry (vegetarian version of meatballs with mashed beans), chicken tikka masala (marinated chicken in a curry/tomato sauce), and lamb vindaloo (spicy braised lamb dish seasoned with bold flavors). We requested a medium heat level for all of the dishes we selected, which provided just the right amount of spice for each of us (and left no residual heartburn!).
As our kids are some of the world’s pickiest eaters but they enjoyed the regular naan, white rice, and a mango lassi.
We ate to our hearts’ content, yet we still had enough leftover for one lunch, and the bill for 4 meals plus appetizers was a fraction of the price we’d pay most other places. Food is consistently delicious, affordable, healthy and hearty.
The short course:
Outdoor patio: On hold.
Online ordering: Yes.
Kids’ Menu? No, but kid-friendly options for the non-adventurous.