Soya Tofu at Bombay Palace OMG!
I've been vegetarian for over 25 years. The dish I miss most from my childhood and the days I did eat meat is Tandoori Chicken. My mum would marinade it overnight before special occasions like Eid in a washing up bowl and the smell of it cooking under the grill as I woke up is one that always made me feel at home.
Options for an alternative are limited though Indian food has long been the most reliable choice for vegetarians when they're eating out. Naturally there will always be options like dhal and vegetables on the menu, so there’s no risk of going hungry. Yet it’s upsetting when your meat loving friends order a sizzling mixed grill. Piled high with juicy steaks and cubes of spicy meat, these platters always smell divine. Tandoori chicken mopped up with a freshly rolled naan is a classic dish and missing out on it has been something veggies have faced for far too long.
Tandoori vegetables and paneer are tasty, but they don’t capture the same texture or flavour as chicken. One chef who decided enough is enough, is Harjeet Singh. Head Chef at the newly re-opened London restaurant Bombay Palace, Harjeet has created his own signature dish that you won’t find anywhere else…Tandoori Soya - it tastes even more delicious than it looks and it has changed my life since eating it!
Perfectly charred, succulent and spicy, it’s authentic in every way and opens up a whole new world of Indian dining to vegetarians; lifelong and converts alike. It’s not just the tandoori soya (pictured above) that Harjeet has perfected. He trained at The Bukhara (voted the of the best Indian restaurants in the world) and spent eight years working for the Kuala Lumpar branch of Bombay Palace. An expert in North Indian cuisine, Harjeet is passionate about ensuring that everyone equally enjoys the dining experience, so he ensures the vegetarian choices are as creative and delicious as everything else on the menu.
Wholesome Indian food on offer includes Changezi Champein (juicy lamb cutlets marinated in fragrant lime, mint and fennel), Meen Moilee (traditional fish curry made with coconut milk, turmeric and cardamom), and a beautifully presented selection of Indian street food.
Although you may recognise certain dishes, Harjeet’s take on them bring the flavours to life even more than you would expect. For example the humble gol goppa is no longer just crispy pooris filled with spicy chutneys, Harjeet presents them as shot glasses, encouraging you to bite into the ball, then down the liquid in one, creating a surprisingly satisfying experience.
Back to the tandoor, as well as the soya there’s kaliyan (tandoori cauliflower), salmon, seek kebabs, jumbo prawns and even tandoor bataire (quail.) And the accompaniment to go with them? The sweet coconut peshwari is particularly joyful.
Served in smart, spacious, modern surroundings and with friendly attentive staff on hand for your every need (from topping up your cocktails, mocktails and lassi to making suggestions when you can’t decide), this is a lovely restaurant to add to your ‘must visit’ list. Tucked away in a quiet part of central London (yes they do exist, if you know where to go!), it’s an impressive place to visit with friends, on a date, or for a family do, and is well-priced to. There’s also a lovely bar on site for pre or post-dining drinks and before you leave, be sure to pick up the restaurant’s cookbook.
Bombay Palace 50 Connaught Street, London W2 2AA | T: +44 (0) 20 7723 8855 www.bombay-palace.co.uk