In the third and final part of my review of Lincoln hostelries, we look at The Bombay on or near the historic Steep Hill.

In all fairness, I had wanted to go to the nearby American Smokehouse called “Ribs ‘n’ Bibs” but it was fully booked at the time we were free, so we popped down a couple of doors here. It was moderately empty on a Saturday night – this was a good sign of what was about to come, but, hungry beggars can’t be choosers.

So, firstly, the poppadums had been made a while ago, they weren’t warm (which is a point of preference for me, as opposed to a requirement to be fair) and were beginning to go a little soggy. Interesting mix of chutneys – a red tikka infused coconut thing, a mango chutney and the usual onion/cucumber mix. No raita which was surprising.

Onto the starters; the vegetable samosa was good; pretty clearly home-made and well filled with tasty vegetables. My mango mixed grill was a standard starter sized mixed grill covered (overly liberally) in a mango sauce. Whilst I was disappointed that the pre-made (on site to be fair) chicken tikka hadn’t been reheated sufficiently, the juxtaposition of the sweet mango and the spiced meats worked quite well.

My main was a Moglai thali. You could choose a prawn, lamb, chicken or beef moglai, or a thali. A thali is an Indian method of serving where you get a number of small dishes of different things (think of it like an Indian tapas). So, naturally, I was expecting quarter sized pots of each of the 4 meats in Moglai sauce. What arrived was four piles of mixed moglai at four corners of a platter (no pots) with some pilau rice in the middle. I had asked for it to be madras hot too, but it was pretty much at the korma end. That said, the sauce was actually pretty fragrant and despite the presentation, was tasty. The side of tarka dhall was thick and contained a decent amount of garlic, but my friend’s dhansak was lacking a kick at the end – lots of lentil flavour, but missing the heat. This, in all fairness, seems to be a theme in the North generally. I like how they use the term “Southern Fairy” readily regarding people from below Watford Gap, but have their default spice setting way lower than those from London.

The cheese naan was thin and crispy based the way I like it, but relatively light on cheese – and I am almost certain it wasn’t the paneer you’d expect in an Indian. The pilau rice also needs some work; strictly speaking it’s meant to be saffron infused which has the side effect of having a yellow colour, not just yellow rice.

On the plus side, it has a great location, it has a good anglo-Indian atmosphere, Kingfisher on draft and reasonable prices.The errors above are all from a place that is complacent in its location and doesn’t think it has to compete for business; maybe because it gets large crowds on a weekend night having had 5 beers wanting 5 more, I don’t know. The real galling part is that they clearly have the base skills to make it great, just not the drive.

Would I go there again? No. Not when the Castlegate is 5 minutes walk away, even if there’s a queue.

The Bombay
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