When Irish alt-rocker Sinead O'Connor sang in the '80s, "I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant," she was in the middle of depression over something she has lost (love). I always wondered how she'd be able to devour her dinner without choking. 'Cause when we have dinner in a fancy restaurant, we do it because we feel great, and we long and appreciate the novelty, seeing everything with a fresh eye, tasting every morsel with a newborn tastebud. That's where we were coming from -- celebrate life -- when we tried the New Bombay Express at Glorietta Food Choices.
I immediately recognized the name to be once a part of the famous LJC Group of Companies restaurant chain. Apparently, it has gone solo and gone the fastfood route (with affordable combo meals too).
I think I finally understand and even like Indian food on my third try. It's no longer as spicy as it seemed the first time. The lamb curry still tasted like goat caldereta plus ten other spices, from cardamom to chives, cumin to cinnamon. Unlike
What intrigued us no end, though, is the suspicious green dip, which we hated more and more as the minutes of chewing flew by. "What the heck is it?" It's not basil, not green tea, not oregano, nor even grated lemon rind. It turned out to be an even more unlikely dip: ground coriander in some oil (coriander is wansoy in Chinese, cilantro in Hispanic-speaking world). Only the Indiands, we thought, can think of possibly combining this radioactive substance together with another unlikely dip: tamarind. The reddish-brown dip can be easily mistaken for sweet chili sauce (because it is as sweet, though not spicy). There was even a calamansi on the side. "Where are we supposed to put it?" Isn't that a Filipino touch already?
No matter. We snubbed the calamansi altogether -- it's supposed to be squeezed on both the red deep-fried ground chicken 'sheek' halves, which tasted like longanisa. We dipped and dipped everything here and there -- the naan bread, the ground chicken -- and wham, a filling dinner that's also markedly different from the usual.
We tried the coriander dip along and we found it too nastily strong a flavor. But paired off with the tamarind, the nastiness is tempered. Result? A distinctly Indian flavor that we are bound to try again.
Monday, March 01, 2010
Posted by R.O. at 9:25 AM