TWO things have been a source of constant pleasure in my life so far – food and films.
So it was a foregone conclusion that I would find myself settling down to a feast at the Bollywood Tandoori sooner or later.
Walking along Union Street, it’s almost a case of blink-and-you’ll-miss it. Located between The Howff and La Tasca, there is only a doorway on display to pique your interest.
But as entrances go, it does its attention-grabbing best to divert your focus to the restaurant underground, with atmospheric Indian music jangling out into the road, not to mention an array of tantalising smells to guide you downstairs.
And once indoors there is only one word to describe the restaurant itself – cavernous.
No intimate eatery is this – you could easily seat several football teams end-to-end and still have room left over for the linesmen.
The only downside is that on a week night as when we went, the place can feel a little empty.
The glittering world of Bollywood cinema sets the tone for this restaurant, with stars of the silver screen smiling down from the walls as you eat.
We plumped for some traditional “Shilpa Starters” named after the world-famous Shilpa Shetty. The vegetable samosa (£3.50) was delicately spicy in a crispy, melt-in-the-mouth shell. The chicken kebab (£4.10) was a slightly more fiery affair, the tender meat bringing just the right amount of heat to proceedings.
And from here things got hotter.
I went for a special from the “Imran Recommends” section of the menu (my limited knowledge of Indian cinema telling me this is a nod to Bollywood heart-throb Imran Khan).
The uttar pardeshi masala (£10.50) is described as the chef’s favourite and is a real explosion of flavour. I had it with lamb and found the combination of green chillis, mint, garlic and ginger very tasty with one heck of a spicy kick.
My pal also went for lamb, but had hers “Afghani style” (£10.50), which meant a strong tasting garlic and tomato sauce and a fresh green salad on the side. It was pleasant and tasty, but still she had a bit of food envy as it lacked the incredible wow factor of my own dish.
With beers, pilau rice and one sweet, if slightly oily, peshwari nan, the bill came to a reasonable £45.75.
The staff were friendly and highly-efficient – and all that was missing was a horde of hungry revellers to pack this very deserving establishment to the rafters.