Indian with a playful touch

SO much about Bollywood Masala is delightfully playful, starting with its name.

Bollywood – a play on the Hollywood film industry and a term that represents vibrant, modern, “out there” India. And Masala – a term that represents the mixture of spices that feature so strongly in this amazing cuisine.

Bollywood Masala opened some years ago on Challis Street, Dickson, and, to the delight of many, has now opened in Kingston, which is undergoing a food revitalisation of sorts with other new restaurants recently opened such as China Plate and Me and Mrs Jones.

The Kingston Bollywood Masala… The décor is attractive and the staff welcoming. Photo by Silas Brown

The décor, featuring stunning plum wallpaper at the front of the restaurant, is attractive and the staff welcoming. I’ve been several times now and it never takes me long to settle in and feel comfortable.

Bollywood Masala’s playful nature carries through to its food offerings. No Indian restaurant would dare open without the familiar classics such as butter chicken and rogan josh, but Bollywood Masala’s menu includes some “to-die-for” regional dishes such as a homestyle spring chicken curry (on the bone for extra flavour) from Punjab in North India ($21.50), Goan barramundi fillets with whole spices in a tangy vinegar base from Goa on the west coast of India ($22.50) and a lamb or beef curry with a touch of coconut from Madras in south India ($19.50). It’s a very exciting adventure.

Other main attractions – by people’s choice, according to the menu – are equally exotic, including the stuffed squid ($22.50) and stuffed spatchcock cooked in the tandoor and served on a bed of saffron rice, dried fruit, paneer and a tangy gravy ($25.50).

I highly recommend the signature leg of lamb, marinated and pan-cooked in a thick, yoghurt-based sauce with a touch of rum. It is finished with special herbs (a Bollywood Masala secret) and heavenly, home-ground spices. The lamb melts in your mouth ($25.50).

The Bakri Gosht is also mouth-watering and a definite must if you love goat curry ($21.50). And, back to the regional dishes, the king prawns cooked in tomato and onion with coconut milk and cashews from the Malabar Coast in south India ($22.50) are absolutely sensational.

Vegetarians are well taken care of with uncomplicated dishes such as the potatoes and cauliflower florets combo to more spicy options such as eggplant cooked in special pickle spices.

Bollywood Masala digs deep into India’s food heritage and stays true to the “cooking methods of old” where possible.

They make their own garam masala, paneer cheese and dahl and use real saffron. They also make a traditional Indian ice cream in house, a light finish to any meal. It’s no wonder Dickson has picked up several awards over the years. And my bet is Kingston will, too.

46 Giles Street, Kingston, call 6162 1113. Licensed and byo wine only. Open Tuesday to Friday lunch and Tuesday to Sunday dinner.

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