Most Indian restaurants aren’t known for innovative dishes or hip fit-outs as much as they’re known for bold flavours in copper-clad bowls. However, Bollywood Grill in Kingsbury is trying to bust out of that stereotype, despite their semi-awkward location (sure it’s on Plenty Road, but you’d never think to go into the gated carpark…) and their name. Not sure an Indian restaurant’s name can be any more stereotypical than this, but let’s just move on….
So, let’s be rightly understood: Don’t let their location or name put you off. Andy the owner, a professionally trained and experienced Chef himself (in Italian cuisine of all things!), is eager to impress, both in terms of food and hospitality. The attempt to make his first establishment (which is under one month old at the time of this blog) fall more into line with Melbourne-cool can be seen in his manner of address, the room’s exposed bulb lighting, the cutlery, and the tasteful Indian pop-music that’s playing in the background. Sure, the menu is splattered with gawdy Bollywood images. And yeah, so is that back wall. Okay! Okay! There’s a glowing bar, too! But it all kinda works.
So let’s get serious and talk food, something that Andy is passionate about. He knows patrons love the traditional Indian fare, but so he can display his own creative flair, his menu boasts some experimental entrees that promptly nod to his Italian training. So for these two Bears, who’ve now been to well over 70 Indian restaurants, experimental and new definitely piques our interest!
To start, Hubby Bear got the recommended Chicken Malai Tikka ($13.50) because, apparently, they’ve added a twist. And twist would be right! Hubby was astounded by the ‘never had this in an Indian restaurant before’ flavour! The chicken pieces were swimming in a rich tandoori mix which combined classic spice with a cashew-y creamy sauce and a touch of Parmesan! Hubby loved this delicious new take on a classic dish, and could’ve probably eaten it as his main!
If Hubby gets to try new, then I wanted to go new, too! LOL! So my entree was Hara Bhara Kebab ($8.50), which I know doesn’t sound vegetarian, but it was! I got four huge spinach & potato patties which were stuffed with mozzarella cheese and nuts (nod to that Italian experience again!) then coated with rice puffs and fried! I thought it such a great idea to coat those mushy patties with a crunchy exterior. The delicious ‘kebabs’ hit both my texture and flavour buttons – two thumbs up!
For our curries, we went the whole nine yards and ordered more than we could possibly eat! You know, for research. So Hubby enjoyed the Lamb Rogan Josh ($14.50) which had a really intense, robust flavour. And I shared a Dal Makhani ($11.50) and Shahi Paneer ($12.50) with him, both of which were rich and creamy. The dal was slightly saltier than expected, but it smoothed out when mixed with the other curry and rice. The Shahi was the classic cashew-y rich sauce with a perfect pinch of fenugreek. Rich flavour is the theme of the night! The Garlic Naan ($3.00) was good, but was a bit heavier and dense than what we personally like; if it was a bit softer, it would’ve be spot-on!
So, what’s the verdict? Combine the effort made in the atmosphere (forget about the exterior, we’re just talking interior here!) and the flavoursome menu options, along with Andy’s passion for food, means Bollywood Grill has all the potential to rise up above their old-school counterparts. Of course, as a new restaurant, there’s bound to be a learning curve; but if you’re willing to give some allowance for a few opening jitters, then go! Go try what a driven and passionate Italian-trained Indian chef does when he unleashes his first restaurant in Melbourne!
Address: 1/937 Penty Road, Kingsbury Victoria 3083, Australia
Tip! There’s a mix of traditional dishes alongside never before seen ones on this menu, so be sure to ask Andy to recommend something based on what your palette is like!