Normally, I'm not really in the mood for Indian food outside of Surrey. Why? Well, you would be hard-pressed to find the combination of value and good Indian eats anywhere else. Sure, there is decent Indian food to be found in Vancouver - for more money. And sure, there is Indian food to be found in the rest of the burbs, yet it generally is hit and miss. However, when Rich Guy and Rich Gal wanted to meet up for lunch in Downtown, I actually suggested we try Salam Bombay. The reason for this was due to some form of ESP between Rich Guy and I. As we were texting, we messaged each other simultaneously that we should go for Indian since that is Rich Gal's favourite cuisine. Furthermore, time was tight since Rich Gal had a massage appointment afterwards (wait, Indian food and then a massage? uh...).
The most popular thing at Salam Bombay during lunch hour is their buffet for $15.00. It's a great way to quickly down some food before heading back to work (not sure if one would necessarily want to work after that). We didn't have to worry about that since we were all off for the day. The buffet started off with mesclun greens and a bean salad. I ignored both since they are fillers and I am a meatatarian. Right next to it was the Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken respectively. We found the tandoori chicken to be relatively moist considering it was in a chaffing tray. It was quite mild, yet not devoid of flavour either. The Butter Chicken was more of the tomato paste version rather than being very creamy. We didn't mind that as it was not as heavy. The one thing that was quite appealing was the level of spiciness - it was apparent. Now, we could handle spicier, but it was much appreciated since many versions of butter chicken can be overly mild. As for the chicken, it was a touch dry but that was understandable since it was all breast meat.
The next item was the Beef Curry and we universally didn't care for it. The small cubes of beef were dry and spongy. Furthermore, the flavours were overly one-dimensional. For me, I got a lot of cloves and bay leaves which made this more of a stewed beef dish rather than curry. Up next was the Seafood Curry which was predominantly squid. Therefore, the entire thing had a squid taste to it (which wasn't necessarily bad). I didn't mind it since there was a good level of heat. The Baingan Bharta was one of my favourites but it seemed that I was in the minority. I guess it has partly to do with the texture which is akin to baby food. This happened at East is East where most people didn't like the pureed squash and I did. Anyways, I didn't get much smokiness from the eggplant, but I did like the mild and subtle flavours. And yes, I loved the mushy texture.
Rich Guy was trying to figure out what the next item was since it was so watery and seemingly devoid of ingredients. In reality, it was the Daal Makhni and there wasn't much of it in the sauce. I did like the flavours since there was once again a good kick, but it wasn't exactly creamy though. The "balls" to the right of the daal were Potato Pakoras which were actually pretty good. The potato in the middle was soft and spiced nicely. As with most Indian buffets these days, the Naan was made-to-order and served upon request. I found the naan to be more like puffed flatbread than anything else. The bottom was very crispy while the bread itself was very light and airy. There was some chewiness and in the end, it did the job.
Lastly, there was a fruit salad as well as Kheer which was really sweet and thick. Despite this, I could definitely pick out a substantial cardamom hit which helped distract my tastebuds from the sugar content slightly. After dusting off a few plates, we were okay with the food in general considering it was a buffet. Now the price was a reflection of its location more than anything else because one could get better for less in Surrey. Ultimately, Salam Bombay is located in Downtown, and more or less does the job with all things considered.
- Okay for its location
- Clean with nice decor
- Good service
- There is better for less, but can't compare to Surrey