I will admit in social media that I am a late bloomer as an Indian food aficionado. Growing up, I hated the scent of exotic aromas and pungent spices. I could not tolerate very spicy food. So I always turned the other way when Indian food is laid on the table. I did not think I will ever like it.

It was two years ago, when I visited London, where I tasted the most delicious Indian food! And I have to thank my husband and wife friends Bubs and Marj for introducing me to it. They took us to our first Indian dinner in London at Masala Zone. We had no chance to take any photos of the food. It was that good! But I took a photo of its very interesting ceiling art!

When I want to eat Indian food, New Bombay Canteen will never let me down. Its nearest branch to me is their Podium location in Mandaluyong City. The taste will always be on point. Value for money will always be kind to your pocket.

So one of those days came when only Indian food would. We went head on with the Ortigas traffic to dine at New Bombay Canteen. Lunch, as we suspected, is their busiest hour. But we were glad it wasn’t all filled up that we were able to get ourselves a table.

I knew that when I open the menu I will start to “panic-order” or “takaw- tingin” in Tagalog. When our server, Carolina handed over the menu to me, I took a deep breath. My intention was to go no-meat for today.

When I turned to the Biryani page, I had my mind made up. I looked up to Carolina and said, “vegetarian biryani”, “spicy”.

J ordered the Mutton Kadai and Cheese Naan to go with it. We thought twice about the lassi, which was tempting, by the way. We just didn’t want to feel bloated after the meal.

When you dine at New Bombay, be prepared to wait for your order. We may have waited 20 minutes or more for ours. So if you are super hungry, plan ahead before you turn ga-ga.

When finally our order came, we were quick to the draw and started eating. And then, oops I forgot to take a photo! Documentation!

So here is our flatlay mess:

Vegetarian Biryani (PhP285), Mutton Kadai (PhP265), Cheese Naan (PhP95); Photo by Michelle Africa

New Bombay brought it home, yet again. The spicy was hot enough for the kick, but not to the point of inedible. The Vegetarian Biryani (PhP285) had mostly, string beans, carrots, tofu and CHILI!. The Mutton Kadai (P265) (I needed to lace some sauce over my rice) was a perfect complement to my rice. Though J would have wanted leaner cuts of meat and less bones. 

But all these dishes blended well like a concert chorus. Never mind that I went beyond my rice quota for the day. No regrets. This was wayyy good.  And to sop all the rich tomato sauce out of our dishes, that was the job of the Cheese Naan (P95).

Our meal was an explosion of tastes. It was like a puzzle of many pieces merging into one. I never really appreciated basmati rice until very recently. I also didn’t realize how expensive you can get them here in Manila. It ranges from P250-300 per kilogram, pretty steep!

Yes it has become my common refrain, to do a comparable dining experience at home. From among the cookbooks in our shelf, I dished out Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food.

This recipe was on page 1. It is touted as the National Dish of Great Britain. Now does that still qualify as Indian food?

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe from Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food Cookbook; Photo by Michelle Africa

Quite a list of ingredients, yes? The spices are fairly easy to get a hold of. Or am I just saying that because my mom hoarded spices during their last trip to India? Hmm, no.. I find the spices accessible in the major groceries in the Metro.

I present to you our homemade Chicken Tikka Masala!!

Chicken Tikka Masala; Photo by Michelle Africa


And yes, it tastes as good as it looks!

New Bombay
5/F The Podium, 12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City
Masala Zone
Various Locations Around London

P.S. You may also read this article in my personal blog Chowpowwows, where chow is always on the lowdown. 

Published by Michelle Africa