Review: Bombay Street Kitchen – Glebe (Sydney)

Glebe marches to the beat of a different drummer. Erudite misfits call it home, as do students, families, travellers and long-time residents. It’s affectionate and invigorating, a place where old terrace houses sit a stone’s throw away from UTS and Sydney University. Future leaders and creatives rub shoulders with the traditional and the comfortable.

This is where you’ll find Bombay Street Kitchen. Run by a husband and wife team who were originally from Bombay (or Mumbai, depending on what you want to call the city), it’s an homage to the food – particularly the famed street food – of the city.  Their daughter, Manasi, works the front of house alongside the waitstaff, so it’s truly in keeping with Glebe’s welcoming  family spirit. Her parents can be found in the kitchen (they’d tried a few head chefs, but so many were eager to “put their own spin” on the dishes, and they didn’t last long).  What it means, then, is that Bombay Street Kitchen is all about Bombay-specific food, made in much the same essence as it would have been in Bombay.

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The clientele are a mix of city office workers, students, and locals from the surrounding areas. There’s an Indian family the night of our visit, with their young toddler baby in tow.  Manasi and her colleague help them with a high chair for the little girl.  At a nearby table, a group of young men eagerly swap notes from their last class.

The restaurant itself is cosy, with a modest interior area but a sprawling outdoor area. A projector outside plays black and white Bollywood movies as the accomodating staff make their way from indoor to outdoor services the customers.  It’s relaxed but not humdrum.

There’s even a note at the bottom of the menu that reads, “It is customary in Indian culture to share food at the table with anyone who wants it”.  Street food is shared food, and Bombay Street Kitchen want their customers to experience it this way.

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Start your Bombay Street Kitchen experience with some drinks – they have a wonderful selection of cocktails and wines.  Try the Sassi Lassi ($9.50), a different kind of lassi that is just for adults (i.e. with vodka).  For something a little quirky, give the Tamarind Margherita ($14) a shot.  Made with tequila and cointreau, it’s sweet and refreshing, and the interesting twist of the tamarind give it an extra kick into something memorable.  Other drinks to try include the Rose and Cardamon Lassi ($5.50) or the Masala Mary ($12.50), made with tomato juice, tabasco and masala spices.

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The starters sit under the Street Food/Something Small section of the menu, and sharing is encouraged.   There are many dishes in the Street Food – it’d be like having an Indian tapas experience.  Try the Spicy Lamb Cutlets ($9.90), the Koliwada Prawns ($10.90) or the Dahi Poori ($7.90).  It might be odd to have lamb cutlets on the starters menu but they were topped with enough flavours (lime, ginger and garlic) to go above and beyond your regular run-of-the-mill cutlets.  For those who are spice-adverse, never fear -they’re spicy, but not deathly.  Coriander haters might want to step away though.  The Koliwada Prawns, essentially popcorn prawns, were served with lemon-flavoured yogurt, and made for a great typical “starters” dish.  The vegetarian-friendly Dahi Poori, though, was the highlight.  Made with potatoes, puffed rice and tamarind chutney, the way to eat them is to devour one in one hit, thereby stuffing one whole dahi poori piece into your mouth for an enjoyable flavour explosion.

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Moving onto the mains, you’ll find the ubiquitous Butter Chicken and Chicken Korma (both $17.90, and both gluten free) dishes, but give the Lamb Saagwala ($17.90) or the Railway Goat Curry ($18.90) dishes a try.  Again, both can be made gluten free, and are pretty hearty.  The Lamb Saagwala is slow cooked and warming, the spinach giving it an earthy element, while the Railway Goat Curry, a recommendation, is sure to delight anyone more familiar with classic Indian cuisine.  Both were served with a side of  Jeera Rice (naturally), $5.50. 

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You can’t leave Bombay Street Kitchen without some of their desserts, found under the Something Sweet menu.  Try the popular Gulab Jamun ($9.90), a whammy of cardamon and coconut ice cream encased in a dumpling/doughnut-type sweet, or the Lapshee ($9.90), a sweetened dish similar to a moist cake, but described as “cracked wheat” soaked in a caramelised sauce of jaggery (a type of sugar) and fennel, with a side of smoked yogurt and, the icing on the lapshee, peanut praline.

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Bombay Street Kitchen is the perfect place to settle in for a great meal shared with great people, and supplied by great staff.

Bombay Street Kitchen
Address: University Hall, Cnr Glebe Point Rd and Parramatta Rd, Glebe, 2037
Phone: 02 9660 3726
Website: www.bombaystreetkitchen.com.au

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