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Bollywood and the tale of two chutneys

Nestled in the far-flung suburban district of Jinqiao, lies a hidden gem of an Indian restaurant - Bollywood. Located near a serene river, ideal for a pre-prandial stroll, this restaurant is perfect for families looking to enjoy a delicious meal in a peaceful and cozy setting.

As you step inside, you are greeted by a warm, dimly lit and traditional ambience downstairs, with a central bar that adds to the charm of the place. The atmosphere is inviting and intimate, creating a perfect setting for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends.

However, as we made our way upstairs, we found ourselves a little disappointed. The bright and stark decor is a far cry from the cozy and traditional feel of the lower level. While it lacks the personality of the first floor, the upstairs seating area is spacious and comfortable, making it a great option for larger groups.

Bollywood offers a menu that is sure to delight any fan of Indian cuisine. From classic curries to flavorful tandoori dishes, the food is good value and often bursting with authentic flavors. Whether you're a spice lover or prefer milder options, there's something for everyone on the menu.

The starters

If you're looking for a true taste of authentic Indian cuisine, look no further than the starters at Bollywood. These delicious dishes are prepared with care and attention to detail, resulting in a taste experience that is both traditional and tasty.

The vegetable samosas are a classic starter option, with a crispy exterior and a flavorful potato and vegetable filling.

The fish tikka is another standout, with tender pieces of fish marinated in a blend of aromatic spices and grilled to perfection.

The Pyas ki Bhajia is a must-try. These onion fritters are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a subtle sweetness that pairs perfectly with the accompanying chutneys.

And last but not least, the chicken tikka is a crowd-pleaser that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning of palates. The tender pieces of chicken are marinated in a blend of spices and grilled to perfection, resulting in a dish that is both juicy and flavorful.

The chutney-off

The Oakham Curry Club has a long history of celebrating the diverse and delicious flavors of Indian cuisine. Tonight, we decided to switch things up with a chutney taste test competition. Yet another innovation from the Shanghai chapter, which has a reputation for pushing boundaries and exploring new culinary horizons. There were two chutneys in competition tonight, Olive Forever and She's Electric, were both unique and creative in their own way.

Olive Forever, created by member Barry 'Bazmati' Orr, was an unexpected combination of olives and Indian five spice, also known as panch phoran. Panch phoran is a blend of five whole spices commonly used in Bengali cuisine, and it typically includes fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard seeds, and fennel. The addition of panch phoran to the chutney added a subtle yet distinct kick that set it apart from more traditional chutneys.

In the other corner,'She's Electric' a nod to the Chutney master, Bazmati Gallagher and a showcase of freshest green ingredients - most prominently mint from my garden. Complimented with a fishermen's friends infused vodka - which was relatively smooth (relative to servo Baijiu).

In the end, it was Olive Forever that was crowned the winner. The unique combination of olives and panch phoran created a bold and memorable flavor that impressed the judges. However, both chefs should be commended for their creativity and skill in creating such innovative chutneys.

The mains

In the world of Indian cuisine, there are few dishes more beloved than the Goan Prawn Curry and the Bhuna Mutton. Both dishes have been enjoyed by food lovers for generations, but when it comes to a head-to-head comparison, it is the prawn curry that emerges victorious.

The Goan Prawn Curry, with its fragrant blend of spices and tender prawns, is a true delight for the senses. The dish boasts a creamy and slightly sweet flavor, which is perfectly balanced with a subtle hint of heat. The prawns themselves are cooked to perfection, with a texture that is both tender and satisfying.

By comparison, the Bhuna Mutton falls short in a few key areas. While the sauce boasts a rich and complex flavor, it lacks the creamy texture that is a hallmark of the prawn curry. Additionally, the mutton itself can be a bit tough and chewy, which detracts from the overall enjoyment of the dish.

Then there were the vegetable dishes. The Dal Palak, a combination of lentils and spinach, was a standout dish of the night. The flavors were perfectly balanced, with the earthy lentils complemented by the bright and fresh taste of the spinach. The spices were subtle yet present, adding depth to the dish without overwhelming the palate. Overall, the Dal Palak was a delightful and satisfying vegetarian option.

But the Chana Masala was no slouch either. The chickpeas were cooked to perfection, with just the right amount of tenderness. The sauce was rich and flavorful, with a perfect blend of spices that added a complex and nuanced flavor profile. It was a comforting and satisfying dish that stood out among the many meat-based options on the menu.

The Naan bread at Bollywood is another true delight. From the classic plain naan to the more flavorful Keema naan, every bite is a treat. The bread is cooked to a perfect fluffy texture, with a slight chewiness that is the hallmark of authentic naan.

The Butter Naan is slathered with just the right amount of butter, adding a rich and creamy flavor to every bite. And the Keema Naan, filled with spiced ground lamb, is a flavor explosion that will leave you wanting more.

The shots

On this occasion the shots were a tad hit and miss. The shot master opted for a local Chinese spirit called baijiu, which divided opinions among the attendees. While a few enjoyed it, the majority found it hard to swallow.

Baijiu is a cost-effective option, as it is known to be cheaper than other types of spirits. It has a potent flavor and aroma that can be quite overwhelming for those who are not used to it. While some people appreciate the unique and intense flavor of baijiu, it is definitely an acquired taste that may not appeal to everyone.

In conclusion

Congratulations to Bollywood for putting on a great event and improving their score from last time. The value, service, and quality of food were all top-notch, and it was clear that the team had put in a lot of effort to make the night a success.

Overall, Bollywood is a wonderful restaurant that offers a unique dining experience in the heart of Jinqiao. Despite the lackluster upstairs decor, the delicious food and cozy atmosphere downstairs make it worth a visit for any food lover. Whether you're a meat lover or a vegetarian, there's a starter option here that will satisfy your cravings.

As we leave with full bellies and happy hearts, we can't help but think of one thing - may your poppadoms be crispy, your sauces tasty, and your curries spicy. Here's to many more curry events like this one, filled with laughter, good food, and great company, and the odd heated debate!

About the OCC

The Oakham Curry Club (OCC) is one of the worlds most respected reviewers of Indian cuisine. With multiple international franchises, we relentlessly scour the globe in pursuit of the crispiest poppadoms, the tastiest sauces and spiciest curries.


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