I think I owe an apology, ① for completely misunderstanding the Indian cuisine and talking smack about it and, ② for depriving myself of this delicacy for all these years.
I had shy-ed away from Indian cuisines for as long as I can remember because I was never a real fan of curry. Sure, I like the slow-cooked flavor of the Japanese wafu curries and the coconut-y Thai kinds, but I thought the Indian curries were just a little too overpowering for my palette. Although my feelings toward the potent spices remain the same, the recent trip to Bollywood Café in Studio City made me realize that Indian cuisine is much more than just curry. Much, much more.
Because I had no idea about Indian food, I let my friends order for the group. There were six of us so we ordered an appetizer, several kinds of Naan (OMG, the cheese Naan was too good for words), and six dishes, and ate family style.
First, what blew my mind was the Sweet Lassi, a refreshing drink made out of yogurt (but tasted more like kefir) with a hint of sweetness. Let me tell you, yogurt is one of my favorite things in the world and it was the best drink I’ve ever had. My friends ordered the mango-flavored Lassi and although it was also delicious, I think I like the original one better.
We ordered an Assorted Appetizer (above), which included Chicken and Lamb Tikka, Seekh Kabab, Samosa and Onion Pakora. I didn’t know what the heck they were but they were all absolutely divine.
For main course, we ordered Lamb Coconut Curry, Shrimp Coconut Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala (all pictured on top) and Chicken Tandoori (above). Chicken Tikka Masala was, hands down, the best dish on the table. The creamy tomato sauce was rich, flavorful and comforting, and although I was getting full with all the food, I could not stop dipping the cheese Naan in the heavenly sauce.
I had never imagined a cuisine that I disliked for so many years can climb up to be one of my favorites so quickly but Bollywood Café certainly proved it is possible. If you’re ever in the Studio City area, I recommend you visit this place – even if you think you don’t like Indian cuisine. This place will definitely blow you away and change your mind.
Bollywood Café: 11101 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604