Snack on chat at Bombay Sweets
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012 03:09
A true manifestation of the phrase, “sugar, spice and everything nice,” Bombay Sweets is a vegetarian heaven. However, this inexpensive buffet is not a “Panda Express” of Indian food; even those cultured in South Asian cuisine will tell you that this place is as authentic as it gets.
The restaurant offers far more than what its name suggests. Hailing the epithet “House of Sweets, Snacks, Chat and Vegetarian Food,” Bombay Sweets serves everything from specialty drinks and pastries to breads and hot dishes. It is located on Hillcroft, along with a smattering of other South Asian stores and restaurants within the diverse cultural makeup of Houston.
An international company and a leader in the snack food industry, Bombay Sweets is a messenger from India, introducing Houstonians to a wide variety of bonafide and 100 percent vegetarian snacks and dishes. However, nothing about this restaurant screams corporate chain food; Bombay Sweets is presented in the manner of a small family-owned restaurant with an emphasis on quality, value and authenticity.
Upon walking into a quaint diner-bakerystyle setting, patrons have several options as to what path to take in their culinary journey. One option includes picking up some sweets togo from Bombay Sweets’ wide bakery selection. Freshly made jalebi (a fried flourand syrupbased treat, comparable to the all-American funnel cake), gulab jamun (waffle balls soaked in syrup) and many other options are readily available to satisfy an exotic sweet tooth.
You could also choose to dine in, ordering one of several varieties of chat. Chat (or chaat) is a term used to describe an assortment of savory snacks, which initially was known as street
Courtesy BomBay sweets food in cities like Mumbai and Delhi. A smorgasbord of potato, crispy fried bread, beans, chutney and spices comprise the basic makeup of any type of chat. Additional ingredients like samosas and yogurt add an even greater explosion of flavor and textures to the dish. A hearty plateful will only cost about $6 to $7.
The other dining option is a challenge to be accepted. A $7 buffet runs from brunch to dinner time, offering an assortment of North and South Indian foods. Bombay Sweets offers vegetarian-friendly dishes such as bhaji (an Indian version of vegetable fritters), aloo beans, pakora (vegetables dipped and fried in chickpea batter), sag paneer (spinach dip with cottage
cheese) and masala rice. Each buffet meal is accompanied by paratha, puri or, everyone’s favorite, naan, all of which are warm, toasted and delicious Indian breads.
Having grown up having meals in the houses of several Indian friends, I can vouch that Bombay Sweets is certainly a taste of the comfort and authenticity of home cooking. However, this restaurant is not exclusively for those acquainted with Indian cuisine or who adhere to a strict vegetarian diet. The bold flavors are truly what make this food universally satiating. From mild
to spicy and salty to sweet, the lines between flavors are blurred as they all come together in gustatory perfection.
For those vegetarians looking for something a little more savory than salad and greens, cultural foodies searching for a new dig, or those who have never encountered the phenomenon that is Indian food, the revelatory experience is upon you. Word to the wise: you may find yourself in a euphoric food coma after your meal. Authentic to Indian culture, Bombay Sweets is the place to go for the biggest bang for your buck and to satisfy your South Asian culinary desires.