“ Address: 58 Goodramgate / York / England „
An impromptu jaunt to York to see a band play at Fibbers brought an opportunity for the Curry Monster to add another restaurant to his not unimpressive collection. It wasn't too difficult to find Bombay Spice, conveniently located in the centre of the city on Goodramgate and just two minutes walk from Fibbers.
First impressions were very favourable; the exterior is attractive and well-maintained. There were no other diners when we entered the restaurant though admittedly it was fairly early in the evening. We were shown to a table right in the window - presumably to give passers-by the impression that the place was busier than it really was. At this point we showed our brochure from the tourist information office which mentioned a twenty per cent discount upon presentation and this was accepted immediately without a problem. Our next enquiry was about the presence of nuts in the food and we were told immediately that the waiter would ensure the chef was aware.
Once settled we could really look at the décor; the walls are a rather striking shade of maroon which could make the place look quite sombre but the lighting is excellent, not too harsh but well placed so you don't have to struggle to see the menu as is so often the case these days in places that employ 'mood lighting'. There were some nice prints of the walls although the ones towards the rear of the restaurant were a little out of place (in my opinion) for an Indian restaurant, depicting nicely painted bottles of French wine. The tables were beautifully dressed - simple but elegant. Along the window sill by our table there was a quirky and eclectic array of decorative items such as golden elephants and ceramic dishes of plastic vegetables - sounds naff but it actually worked very well together. Overall the look is modern and smart yet just casual enough to make you feel comfortable.
The menu was quite extensive, perhaps more than is really necessary and as a result we took a good while to decide but we didn't feel at all under pressure to make a decision and the waiter stood back discreetly until he could see we were ready. The restaurant prides itself on its fish and duck dishes and has an interesting selection of both. Also, the menu offers an interesting mix of Indian and Bangladeshi dishes.
The Curry Monster opted for the duck tikka followed by a traditional Bangladeshi fish dish. I went for a starter of aubergine stuffed with spicy chicken and for my main course I chose a lamb and lentils dish which I had never heard of before. We declined poppadoms as we didn't want to be too stuffed to enjoy the gig later on.
There was a reasonable wine list but we went for beer because we'd be drinking beer at the gig; I am pleased to report that Cobra is served at Bombay Spice along with what I call 'cooking lager'.
Our starters arrived as quickly as one would hope from a restaurant where you are the only diners. Mine was indeed spicy with a good kick and a decent portion of chicken - no meanness here! The duck tikka got the thumbs up and I had to sample it just to be sure; the duck was lovely and tender and beautifully flavoured. Both dishes came with a small salad garnish and I was very impressed to note that the salad had been dressed - which (in my vast experience) almost never happens.
Our plates were cleared away promptly and we had a few minutes before the mains arrived. My lamb dish was one of the best I have ever had: good pieces of lamb, slow cooked to make it really tender. The lentils were soft yet not mushy and the overall layering of flavours was excellent. It was described a medium hot dish which I would have like to be a bit hotter though the flavours were delicious. The CM's fish dish was attractively presented in an oval dish, head and tail still on, the skin slightly scored where the spices had been rubbed in and a lovely golden brown colour. The succulent white flesh of this Bangladeshi fish (I think called 'boal') fell away from the bone effortlessly and the subtle spices meant the delicate flavour of the fish wasn't overpowered. We had naan bread and pillau rice to accompany our main courses and the portion sizes were good. Sometimes I feel that the naan breads can be oversized but this was ideal for two to share.
Justifying it as being 'on holiday' for the night I asked to see the dessert menu and was disappointed to find that, like so many places these days, the desserts were not only bought in but were just a selection of ice creams and sorbets from one supplier with nothing unusual or individual. In the end I went for the peppermint bombe though a couple of spoonfuls proved the old saying about eyes and belly. It was fine, though: crisp dark chocolate shell filled with delicious peppermint ice cream. We rounded off with coffees, wondering how we would be able to stand in a hot club for the next four hours when all we wanted to do was have a lie down.
Overall we really enjoyed eating at Bombay Spice; the food was delicious and it was nice to see some different dishes on the menu. The service was excellent, prompt when required but unpressured and unobtrusive; sometimes when a restaurant is quiet the waiters do tend to hang around the few diners there for lack of anything else to do, but not here. While we like to try new places I do feel that we might well return to this restaurant simply because there were so many dishes on the menu that we would have liked to have sampled.
Two starters, two mains, rice, bread, one dessert, three beers, two coffees - with a twenty per cent discount - came in at just under £40.00.
Tel - 01904 613300
Open - 12.00 - 14.30, 18.00 - midnight