Dining • August 31, 2006
New faces—and some just in new places—on the Utah Indian
by Ted Scheffler
Dining • August 31, 2006
I’ve been up to my eyeballs in curry, and that’s exactly how I like it. I really mean it when I say that: I even
named my cat Curry. And although I subsist largely on takeout from Curry in a Hurry on State Street, I will
also travel far and wide for curry—no hurry. I just can’t get enough of that hot stuff.
I was sad to see the old Bombay House in Lamplighter Square on Foothill Drive go away. The atmosphere
and flavors hit high notes there, and service was always at least pleasant. I wish I could say the same for the
sprawling new Bombay House on Parley’s Way, whose former occupant was a Western steakhouse. The food
is comparable to the old Bombay House—the nans and curried lamb are especially good—and parking is
much easier. But prices have gone up, the ambience is nil, and good service seems to have been left back at
So let’s move on to Bombay Express. With a name like Bombay Express, I had assumed this Indian eatery to
be a Curry in a Hurry quickie takeout type of place until I was advised otherwise by a fellow foodie. “Skip the
buffet lunch but go there for dinner,” she said. “It’s awesome.” So I did. And it was. Sort of.
The décor at Bombay Express, if we can call it that, is anti-awesome. It’s essentially a large, dark, ugly room
in an ugly strip mall with a smaller glass-enclosed private ugly room off to one side. I suppose the
abundance of hanging potted plants should count for something. They don’t.
Fortunately, the food at Bombay Express more than makes up for the dreary setting you’ll eat it in. As my
friend suggested, skip the lunch buffet and order from the regular menu or show up at dinnertime. Build a
little extra time into your schedule, though, as it’ll take a while to peruse the 174-item menu. As you do so,
an impatient gent without a lot of English will be hovering, encouraging you to order appetizers and get the
show on the road. When you do, he’ll insist that you haven’t ordered enough food and suggest an additional
dish or three. Fortunately, the prices are low enough at Bombay Express that an extra dish won’t break the
bank. And leftover curry makes a terrific breakfast.
The onion pakora ($3.50) at Bombay Express is a good starter, small nibs of shredded onion battered and
deep fried, served with four dipping sauces. The coconut sauce was killer. An even better starter was the
lamb keema samosa, a two-piece serving ($4.99). Cinnamon and allspice-scented ground lamb was stuffed
into a light pastry cone and deep fried—lovely all by itself, but equally delicious with sweet and tangy
There are 19 different varieties of dosa on the Bombay Express menu that, by the way, are halal. A dosa is a
type of crepe popular in southern India, made from fermented lentil flour and rice flour. It’s thin and crispy
with a lattice-like texture and can be eaten plain or with a variety of stuffings, the most popular being peas,
carrots, onions and corn or potatoes. Our waiter insisted that a dosa was “appetizer size” and not enough
food for an entrée. Well, the masala dosa (vegetable stuffing, $5.75) was roughly the size of my thigh and
extended well beyond the sides of the very large plate it was served upon. But although massive, it is true
that I wouldn’t want dosa as an entrée. A little dosa goes a long way, so share it with eight or nine close
Bombay Express’ chicken vindaloo ($9.99) was hands-down the best I’ve enjoyed in Utah, and I’ve tried ’em
all. As requested, my vindaloo was an incendiary serving of vinegar-marinated boneless chicken in a chile-
spiced orange-red gravy swimming also with tender chunks of potato. Not for the meek, Bombay’s vindaloos
are a hothead’s heaven. By contrast, chicken coconut kurma ($9.99) is wonderfully fragrant and toothsome
yet so mild an infant could eat it. Small, ultra-tender pieces of boneless chicken breast swim in a delicate
sauce of cream, coconut milk, ginger and perhaps ground cashews? It’s an absolutely delightful dish.
Like the original Royal India restaurant in Sandy, the new Royal India sister restaurant in Bountiful has
better eye appeal than most Wasatch Front Indian eateries. It’s colorful, serene, clean and modern. The
service is top-notch and owner Emmanuel Shanthakumar runs quality control over the Madras-style cuisine
served there, shuttling frequently between his Sandy and Bountiful restaurants. Located on Bountiful’s
quaint Main Street, Shanthakumar’s place is still educating Davis County palates in the diversity of Indian
cuisine. But judging by the percentage of regular return patrons to Bountiful’s Royal India, the exotic flavors
are catching on quickly.
I’ve yet to discover a dish at either Royal India that I didn’t love, but I’m particularly partial to lamb biryani
($11.95), one of the house specialties. Light, fluffy basmati rice is tossed with tender chunks of lamb and
cooked with a subtle, fragrant blend of spices, herbs and nuts. Anyone who thinks all Indian food is hot and
spicy should try biryani, which is anything but.
Like Bombay Express, Royal India also serves dosas although not quite the variety. Try the version (keema
dosa $9.95) made with minced lamb, onions, peas and spices. And you don’t see much fish on local Indian
menus, but Royal India serves beautiful boneless halibut in a mild kurma-type sauce of garlic, curry, ginger
and coconut milk ($12.95). Yup, a trip to Bountiful might be in order.
733 E. 3300 South
2731 E. Parley’s Way
55 N. Main