54.7 F

Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Dining in Davis: Bombay Dreams restaurant

In Review: Bombay Dreams Restaurant

Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Food: **
Ambiance: ***
Cost: $$

Food and ambiance quality
**** I’m dining here every day
*** Almost like eating at home
** Better than my roommate’s cooking
* Only if I’m starving
$$$$ chancellor $20+
$$$ professor $15-20
$$ graduate student/alum $10-15
$ undergraduate $5-10

Bombay Dreams may look like an Indian paradise, but it doesn’t quite live up to the dream.

Located on Second Street between F and G Street, Bombay Dreams hosts a mirage of pink and orange walls and a variety of dishes from both India and Nepal.

When my two friends and I walked up we nearly passed the entryway, as it is nestled into the wall between two protruding windows. Apart from looking a tad dilapidated on the outside, the inside is obviously taken care of with fresh paint, fine light fixtures and other exotic wall décor.

Upon entering, one immediately feels the essence of India, with the bright colors of the walls and the extensive mural along the entire sidewall. The restaurant actually has two large rooms, excluding the kitchen. One is solely for tables and the buffet, which is served from 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., while the other is home to a large bar, with happy hours 3 to 6 p.m. every day.

When we entered at 2 p.m. on a Saturday, there was but one person dining in the entire restaurant, instantly making us wonder whether the restaurant was ever a popular feasting spot.

Bombay Dreams, however, has only been established for about six months, meaning it hasn’t had extensive time to build up a strong clientele.

When we sat down, our table was without napkins and it took a while for a waitress to bring us drinks. However, our water glasses were never empty.

After ordering, it took about 30 minutes before all of our food was placed on our table; though, our waitress guaranteed that each of our plates would be made fresh.

This restaurant has a typical Indian cuisine serving style in that many of the plates are “family style,” or are shared with everyone at the table. Lucky for us, we were able to try a few different dishes with this format.

Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., the restaurant also offers a lunch buffet, with a number of meal options including chicken, lamb, vegetables and more. Despite this tempting offer, we chose to order separately, starting with Junior Samosas.

Samosas are deep-fried pastries, filled with potatoes and other vegetables. At Bombay Dreams, they were served with two types of sauces, one sweet sauce and another spicy green sauce, adding to the flavor of the dish. This plate of six pastries only cost $4.50.

For lunch we ordered chicken tikki masala, a personal favorite of mine. This dish contains boneless chicken cooked with herbs in a creamy tomato sauce, served atop basmati rice. The chicken was perfectly tender and had just the right amount of spice to be considered “mild.” While it was the most expensive dish, at $11.95, it was definitely worth it, as it was the most enjoyable.

On the other hand, the vegetable buryani was a bit of a pitfall, with very little taste apart from the cooked vegetables. The vegetable buryani was a large dish of basmati rice cooked with vegetables, and traditionally nuts and fruit as well, though we ordered it without the latter. Costing $8.95, this dish’s quantity did not match its quality.

Next, we ordered the traditional naan bread, only adding another $1.75 to our tab. The naan was another letdown, with a taste not unlike Wonder Bread. We also ordered rab ne bana di poori, another bread dish described as “deep fried, soft and fluffy bread.” It wasn’t very “fluffy” but it was better than the naan bread, only costing $2.25.

For the three of us, we spent $31.71 (with tax, but excluding tip), which can be considered a reasonable amount for a meal. The food overall was very good, but nothing really wowed me.

My final critique is that the ambiance is fabulous; they went all-out on décor, but they should have spent more time on perfecting their menu. The menu is very simple, with minimal creativity (for example, the lamb dishes are mostly the same as the chicken dishes, but the chicken is just substituted for lamb), though the food was edible and somewhat tasty. I did appreciate the freshness, which was noticeable and therefore notable.

Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Bombay Dreams, but it wasn’t my favorite Indian cuisine experience ever. Aside from the contemporary and well-looked-after interior, the food was nothing spectacular for my taste buds. Worth the money? Yes. Worth the wait? Probably not.

Devon Bohart can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


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