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Bombay Inn

Flemish daily newspaper Het Nieuwsblad came out recently with a list of the top five places to eat Indian food in Belgium. The article set me off dreaming about curries, naan and aromatic rice. So I book a table for two at Bombay Inn, the Brussels restaurant acclaimed for its exceptionally good Indian cuisine and cosy atmosphere since 1978.

The owner is genuinely happy to see us come in, his first customers on this slow Wednesday evening, but the place fills up quickly in the two hours that we are there. First he brings a thirst-quenching Coke and pitcher of sparkling water, followed by the requisite poppadom and quartet of exotic dipping sauces.

The extensive menu is overwhelming at first, but does offer a helpful explanation of each dish in Dutch, French and English. This is useful for those of us needing to brush up on our knowledge of the difference between shahi korma, madras and rogan josh, to name a few. After long deliberation, we settle on lamb tikka masala and chicken dhansak.

We’re amazed by how quickly the dishes appear on the hot plate before us, together with a side of naan, that irresistible flatbread straight out of the clay oven, and a bowl of heavenly scented rice.

The ultra-tender pieces of lamb have been marinated in yoghurt with ginger and spices and grilled in the tandoor before being added to a thick, creamy sauce. There is no lack of flavour here, with myriad spices mingling on your tongue with the unmistakeably rich taste of ghee, clarified butter.

The dhansak makes for a nice complementary dish to the tikka masala, as the two are completely different. Chunks of white-breast chicken are found bobbing inside a thick and delicious sauce, a combination of onions, pink lentils and no small amount of spices, mainly cumin, coriander and turmeric. We sop up every last bit of both sauces with torn-off pieces of the naan.

Rice, normally a modest and unassuming side dish, is in this restaurant one of the highlights of the meal. Thanks to a mixture of sweet, plump sultanas, earthy cashews and fragrant cloves and cardamom, the rice has a lot of character.

My partner and I let it all digest over a couple of espressos which, it must be said, are not an Indian restaurant’s forte. One of their speciality fruit teas or Indian chai teas with milk would have been more suitable. At any rate we’re impressed by the whole experience, especially when it comes to just €44.

38 Rue de la Fourche, Brussels;
12.00-14.30 & 18.00-22.30, Mon-Sat
Mains: €12-20
Time-tested and truly enjoyable Indian restaurant in the heart of Brussels

 This review was originally published in Flanders Today