Spicy Bollywood: by Brian Baxter

Friendly Indian restaurant in the heart of town.

Last week I was mulling over the fact that a number of major cuisines (or countries) were under-represented in the City. This included Indian food and I was soon urged by a friend to try a comparatively new place not that far from Thaphae Gate. It is called, quite amusingly, Spicy Bollywood after the movie notion, but the decoration is not given over to stars or aspects of their silver screen but to a ‘garden’ or mini jungle atmosphere. Don’t worry it is not obtrusive and the venue is comfortable, not noisy and the service is friendly and attentive.
It is situated in a quite narrow but not claustrophobic building facing the street and moat, about 300 metres along from Taphae Gate. When I went there recently it was getting quite busy with farangs, mainly visitors I imagine since it is in the centre of the tourist area, but there were no Thais in evidence. I know it is not their favourite alternative to Thai food despite the fact that both can be spicy. The menu is printed only in English which will hardly encourage Thai diners or people with Thai friends to encourage them to visit it and seek out the intriguing tastes.
It is not large, perhaps big enough for a couple of dozen diners, with tables mainly in fours. The menu is simply printed listing the food without a single word of description. Not daunting for the many people (especially the English who have hundreds of Indian restaurants to choose from) but perhaps for some. Luckily the owner is on hand to help out and one of the waiters, at least, is Thai which could prove useful. Prices are very reasonable and the drinks list including Thai beers and soft options including lassi are between 40 and 90 baht (for a large Singha beer).
The highlight of our meal – at least for me – was the ‘starter’ of Fish Tikka, very well spiced and perfectly cooked chunks of white fish, steaming hot from the oven.
My companion opted for one of the ‘sets’: the one with meat. There are two of these and for around 150 baht you get a large dish, with little sections containing rice, yoghurt, nan bread, spicy chicken and so on. There is a vegetable option with two choices of veg. from the wide selction on the menu.
I went for the prawn biryani and this was fine except that the portion (especially since I had asked for a vegetable dish – chick peas) was far too much for me to eat. Portions seem large so be warned about that. Not a criticism for many people I appreciate but no one likes to waste food. Since much Indian food is slow cooked and prepared ahead of time (the opposite of many Thai dishes) there is little wait so even when it is busy or full, don’t worry.
Expect to pay between 200 and 400 baht a head depending on the choices and drinks. Most main dishes are under a hundred baht. You will find Spicy Bollywood on Moon Muang Road, not far from the large Siam Bank on the left before SomPet Market, facing the moat. Open everyday 11 3 p.m. and 5 11 p.m.155-157 Moon Muang Road, phone 053 289 648.


Prawns in a cognac sauce

Prawns are always plentiful in Thailand, and king prawns are particularly good for this appetizer. The addition of cognac just gives that little extra to the prawn dish, and a great taste as well. Flaming the cognac sauce before serving adds that little bit of theatre to really impress your guests.

Ingredients           Serves 4
King prawns, peeled           250 gm
or around 20 prawns
Garlic, chopped                 4 cloves
Olive oil                             4 tbspns
Tomato puree                     3 tspns
Cognac                              6 tbspns

Salt and pepper

Cooking Methodd
Make sure the prawns are de-shelled and remove heads and tails. Slice along the back of the prawn and remove the ‘vein’.
Place the garlic and prawns in the pan or wok and heat the oil. Stir until the prawns turn pink (only a couple of minutes).
Add salt and pepper, the tomato puree and finally the cognac and cook for a further 30 seconds.
To serve, flambé the sauce at the table and present immediately.