Cari Taylor-Carlson

Bombay Sweets Has Big Menu, Big Tastes

About 120 items to choose from. Every one I had was delicious.

By - Jan 7th, 2023 02:15 pm
Bombay Sweets, 3401 S. 13th St. Bombay Sweets. Photo taken Nov. 29, 2022 by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

Bombay Sweets, 3401 S. 13th St. Bombay Sweets. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

In a city where an ordinary burger costs between $10.00 and $15.00, it’s a joy to discover a restaurant where you can fill a plate for less than $10.00. At Bombay Sweets, an Indian-Pakistani restaurant on S. 13th just a ways south of Oklahoma Ave., the meals are healthy, vegetarian/vegan, and the number of choices will leave your head spinning. It’s also a bakery with a large selection of cookies and other sweets, complementing the restaurant with that very lengthy menu.

Yet it’s a bare bones operation. You order at the counter and when your order is ready you pick it up at the counter. There are no servers. When you finish, you deposit your disposable plate in the trash.

From the extensive menu, exactly 120 choices, don’t skip past #1, the Samosa, a turnover filled with a spicy mix of potato and peas. It comes with a portion of Mint Chutney and Tamarind Chutney, sauces that tamped down the heat in the filling and added a sweet spicey edge to the samosa, a tasty crispy treat, with or without the sauces.

The first time I visited Bombay Sweets, I went full out and ordered a platter, Aloo Parotha and one Poori in case the platter left me wanting more. For the parotha, the chef mixed spicy potatoes in unleavened flat bread and because the bread had no yeast, it was stretchy, an ideal companion to the accompanying Channa Marsala. Here’s where the meal got interesting as in sinus-clearing spicy, enough to scare anyone who is spice-averse. I loved it! Every bite sang with layers of flavor imbedded in the thick sauce that coated the chickpeas. The creamy homemade yogurt was a perfect antidote to the spices and pickles added sour to this complex plate of traditional Indian cuisine. A Mango Lassi made with yogurt was thick, cool and refreshing; Mango was the star in this drink, a fine companion to the spicy food.

My companion’s Vegetarian Thali Platter was a delightful mix of two curries, Daal Makhani, Basmati Rice, Roti, Papadam, and Dessert. The curries were mild and the daal, made with black lentils, had deep rich almost creamy flavor from the addition of butter. Roti, deep-fried bread, and Papadam, a thin cracker-like bread, made useful utensils for scooping the daal as they do in India. The dessert, a ball of cake soaked in simple sugar syrup, was the sweet treat that completed the platter.

The next time I came to Bombay Sweets, I brought two companions who studied the menu for hints that suggested dishes with less rather than more spicy heat. As many choices tend toward spicy, it was necessary to pay attention to the menu description of the dish, or, you can ask the person at the counter for recommendations. That might be the safe way to insure “mild.” That’s how we landed on Aloo Matter, Bombay Tava Pulao, and Aloo Gobhi.

The Aloo Matter, potatoes and peas in a tomato-curry sauce, came in a small bowl and was accompanied by a large portion of basmati rice. It was unexpectedly spicy, but when combined with the rice, the heat melted into a delicious mix that featured garlic, ginger and cumin. The Aloo Gobhi, a similar dish made with cauliflower and potatoes, had a yellow tint from the addition of turmeric. It too was spicy with crunchy cauliflower and like the Aloo Matter, it was delicious.

The Bombay Tava Pulao was precisely as described on the menu and mildly spicy. A large portion of rice was mixed with vegetables, nuts and mustard seeds. It was colorful and came with a bowl of Raita, homemade yogurt mixed with chopped cucumber.

You will not leave hungry. All the portions at Bombay Sweets are generous. If you had to choose one dish from the 120 choices, make it #1, the Samosa. At $1.29, you can order two for less than the price of a cup of coffee. Add a Mango Lassi and you’ve spent $5.57 for a healthy, delicious and vegetarian meal.

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