Restaurant Review: Bollywood Bistro (Guelph)

January 16, 2011

Hi all!

I’m embarrassed to see that this is my first blog post of the new year, given that January is already halfway over! But this time of year is always a bit hectic, what with all the festive celebrations, the travelling, and the new school term starting up. I’m finally getting back into the swing of things, though, and hopefully that’ll also mean getting back into the swing of more regular blogging!

Today I’m here to bring you a review of an excellent restaurant, one of if not the best Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to: Bollywood Bistro in Guelph, Ontario (about an hour outside of Toronto). I was lucky enough to get invited along with a couple of my friends last weekend, and although I was at first a little skeptical about driving for over an hour just to get some dinner, they assured me it would be worth it. And guess what? It totally was!

Bollywood Bistro is best described as a combination of perfect North Indian cooking and a more modern presentation and atmosphere. It is easiest the hippest Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to, which was a nice change of pace from the many loud, dark, and/or sketchy Indian places I’ve frequented in the past. Their menu is not gigantic, but offers a range of options, including a whole page of vegetarian entrees. They also have one of my favorite Canadian beers, Wellington, on tap! But enough talk—let me show you all the delicious food I had. First up, appetizers! Here we have some vegetable pakoras…

…then a couple of samosas…

…and finally a Dal Tadka soup!

All of these were excellent (well, I didn’t taste the samosas, but they looked pretty excellent). The soup, although it doesn’t look like much in its photo, was especially good, offering an amazing array of spices and flavors in every spoonful. After this lovely beginning, I was ready for the main course, which for me was this amazing Dal Makhni! (Can you tell I was in a soup mood this night? This is what happens when it’s -10 degrees C outside, Canada!)

Bollywood Bistro’s menu describes Dal Makhni as the following: “black lentils and red kidney beans slow cooked with spices to a delectable creamy soup garnished with butter and cream.” Anyway, this soup was wonderful! I was especially excited since this was the first time I was trying dal makhni, and it did not disappoint at all. Like my appetizer soup, this main course packed a lot of flavor, and was also deliciously creamy. And it went great with the generous (and complementary!) sides of naan and papadum as well!

My fellow diners’ entrees also looked quite excellent and seemed to satisfy, but given their non-veg status, I did not try them for myself. So here are some photos, with my best guesses as to what they were:

Salmon (pretty sure here)

Chicken Tikka Masala? (that’s what my memory is telling me)

Lamb something?! (no clue here at all)

After our mains, we could not pass up dessert. I went with my longtime favorite, Gulab Jamun (kind of like honey-soaked Indian Timbits/Doughnut holes…

…and was very happy I did. This was great! Everyone else at the table got Ras Malai (sweet paneer in cream):

And this was incredible too! I would definitely want to try this again if I went back.

UPDATE (August 2011): For anyone who’s curious, rest assured that Bollywood Bistro is also vegan friendly! Though your number of options is somewhat limited, a few of the vegetarian entrees are also vegan, and most importantly, the staff are able to advise you on what is and is not. The Bhindi Masala I had on my second visit was excellent, especially if you’re an okra fan like me. So vegans, don’t fear—Bollywood Bistro is for you, too!

So all in all, I was super pleased with Bollywood Bistro. Its only downside is that it’s in Guelph and not Toronto, but I guess that’s completely subjective and unfair of me to say. But even given its distance, it’s still definitely worth the drive. So try it out for yourself, if you happen to be one of our few readers who: (a) lives in Ontario, (b) has a car, and (c) isn’t strictly vegan and doesn’t mind having some cream and ghee sometimes.

Until we eat again,


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