Purely vegetarian restaurants are hard to come by. Chances are better in large metropolitan areas, Seattle included. To cater to the growing numbers of vegetarians, it’s small wonder that there aren’t more Indian vegetarian restaurants in America since the subcontinent is generally regarded as the greatest source of vegetarian cuisine in the world. In the Seattle metro area, there are only a handful. It seems that remaining a vegetarian-only restaurant is difficult to sustain since it relies on a certain clientele to keep it going. An Indian vegetarian restaurant in particular might face a greater challenge since a standard one normally has a very good veggie entrée selection while simultaneously satisfying carnivorous appetites. Udupi Palace came and went in Bellevue. Now, in Bellevue’s Eastgate area, Bombay House opened last year, occupying the space formerly held by O’Char, a Thai restaurant. Will it survive? Only time will tell.
Situating Bombay House at this location might at the very least appeal to the Indian employees who work across I-90 at the Eastgate Microsoft, Verizon and Boeing complexes. Its closest competition is India Gate, which is much closer to the high-tech companies and is a good restaurant besides, having been there for many years. At lunchtime, it’s de rigueur for Indian restaurants to offer all-you-can-eat buffets. I can’t think of a single one in this area that doesn’t. Time was when these buffets cost $5.95, but nowadays it’s more like $10. Because of competition, prices are within $1 of each other across all restaurants, so an edge might boil down to offering more buffet items or demonstrating higher quality, perhaps even service or ambience. For $9.95, Bombay House had eleven entrées, plus condiments and chai. Spice Route in the Overlake area has many more. A nice touch was serving freshly made naan at the table, drizzled on top with what possibly was ghee. Service was friendly and cheerful.
The entrées themselves were tasty, though nothing was extraordinary. Both my wife and I did really like the palaak paneer. Other items included daal maharani, Bombay aloo, vegetarian korma, karhi pakora, coconut-tofu masala, two kinds of rice, pakora, and spinach soup. About half were vegan, which is good news for vegetarians on a stricter diet. All the items were mildly, if at all spicy, a big plus for my wife, with the exception of a tasty, hot mint chutney and a chile sauce that seemed very much like Indonesian sambal oelek. The lone dessert item was kheer, a rice pudding with very nice cardamom flavor. A large urn dispensed unsweetened chai.
The buffet was rather typical, somewhat diminished by a limited selection. Bombay House will not win over India Gate patrons to any significant degree. Yet, glancing at the dinner menu, I do envision the restaurant appealing to vegan customers, as they will be able to eat over 60 percent of the main dishes.
15100 SE 38th St. # 305A
Bellevue WA – 98006