Bombay House, located off of SE 38th St. and snuggled between Rite Aid and Albertsons, is a purveyor of all-vegetarian Indian Cuisine conveniently located within walking distance form of Bellevue College for the ease of automotively-challenged college students. The first and last word on our mind when we walked in was ‘quaint,’ as the modest shop is nothing if not quaint. The second word would likely be ‘spicy,’ the air light with hints of fresh cardamom and coriander. A server walked us to a corner surrounded by walls painted like a cloudy sky and gave us time to explore their diverse and colorful menu. Quiet music thrums in the background, consciously unnoticed but an integral part of the experience.
We perused through neatly labeled and organized dishes, seeking out the names of dishes marked vegan and gluten free. When inquired, the servers were knowledgeable and responsive to questions about options for even further dietary preferences, such as nut-free and soy-free dishes. When we came upon dishes and prices that we felt content with, the same servers were close at hand, promptly beginning the cooking process.
The sounds and smells of our dinner danced past for the next 10 minutes, onions and garbanzo and spices of all sorts mixed into the cloud, before the food was served. I had ordered Vegetable Briyani, a vegan dish of sautéed ginger, onions, garlic and cashews sprinkled atop a bowl of rice, brightly orange with turmeric, garnished with golden raisins and served with Raita, a heavenly spicy yogurt condiment that tasted of chili, both of which I poured atop my flat of Chana Roti, a gluten-free flat bread rife with spices and crunchy goodness. For those readers who adhere to the gluten-free diet, you know how rare and beautiful a thing good gluten-free flat bread is.
I cried, just slightly.
The man I was dining with had an order of Onion Pakora, which is something like an onion ring minus any particular shape. This he washed down with a small bowl of Chennai Shorba, a soup dyed yellow with tamarind paste and loaded with potatoes and onions that packed a delightfully warm punch. The spices I had been sampling on the air for the last 20 minutes were far superior when eaten and I could not get enough pear chutney to save my life. This, of course, was no fault of the servers, who could not walk the length of the room as fast as I could eat the stuff. It was like mushy candy without the guilt.
This is a wonderful place to go after school, before school and after you no longer go to school. Though I racked up a bill of almost 20 dollars, my companion walked away content having only have spent a bit more than nine and the quality of the food in all cases is worth the money. Next time you need to fill your belly with warmth and spice, saunter on down to the Bombay House and bring your teacher leftovers!