The New Bombay is a long thin restaurant with minimal décor, bar a large mirror at the end and a slightly ornate wooden suspended ceiling. The tables are arranged down the left side, with some booths along the right. There were plenty of seats to choose from on this quiet Thursday evening - just one other table was occupied when we arrived and only one other couple of diners arrived later on.
We declined the offered popadoms (for once the waiter didn't seem to mind) and went straight on to the starters. Two massive spheres made up the obligatory onion bhajis. More than a handful is usually a bad sign but these were well cooked throughout, if a bit chewy. They tasted good but lacked a little in spiciness The sheek kebabs arrived on a sizzler with a decent supply of onions, and were nicely spiced, if again a bit on the chewy side. These were all accompanied by a generous portion of the typical curry house salad. We also had a deceptively large boat of splatter - even IanD couldn't finish it!
With such a good start, we prepared ourselves to be let down by the main courses. The preparation was all for nothing as they turned out to be rather good. The Chicken Pathia was exquisite - fruity yet perfectly spiced. The Chicken Dansak was nice and spicy but not over hot. Another thick tasty sauce for the Chicken Dopiaza with, as expected, plenty of onions. In all three dishes there was no shortage of chicken - some more tender than others. All portions were very generous but served in odd shaped dishes which were a bit shoogly as they wouldn't sit flat on the plates. The nan breads were all near perfect although the keema was a bit sparse in one whilst the chilli nan was a bit too big!
We can't understand why the New Bombay was not busier. It's just off the main curry area of Tavistock Street but it's well worth the detour. OK, so being in the shadow of Bedford jail may be a bit off-putting but there probably aren't many customers originating from that building. The staff are very friendly and don't look down their noses at you when you don't have popadoms or when you order the cheapest beer or when you don't order side dishes or rice. This makes a refreshing change and leads to a most enjoyable dining experience.
Which gives an overall rating of 4 bhajis.