During our holiday at Boambee Bay Resort, Carl found out about a swim club that meets at 9am at Sawtell Beach every day of the year except Christmas Day and they do an ocean swim then head back to the club-house for coffees. Carl joined them and was warmly welcomed into the fold and quickly had at least a dozen new life-long mates.
When these new life-long mates found out where we were staying, they said, ‘Have you tried the Indian yet? because there’s an Indian restaurant within the complex.
‘No, no, not yet’, said Carl.
‘Oh, you should go’, they all said, ‘We love it’.
So on our last night at the resort we were all out of food (don’t mention FISHING) and decided, that purely for convenience (less than a minute’s stroll from apartment to venue) we would dine at Indian at Boambay.
The couple running the cafe at Boambee Bay Resort also runs the restaurant. They work in the cafe by day and run the restaurant at night having Sunday as their only day of rest. The husband is Indian and the wife is Australian and they have made the restaurant Indian with some Aussie choices.
The restaurant itself is rather ordinary as the room is pretty much a boring square box with dated chairs the style of which you’d expect to find poked into the corner of a cheap motel room. They had sloping rounded arms preventing you from being able to hang up your hand bag and I always find that annoying. The room is also carpeted giving it more of a conference room feel. There is indoor and outdoor seating but the room doesn’t open onto the outdoor seating and it needs to – this box needs to be opened.
It was deathly quiet when we walked in and there was no music playing. The restaurant was near-empty but we had arrived early and there were reserved signs on almost all of the tables. A couple arrived without a reservation and were led to the outdoor seating but with no link between outside and in you wouldn’t have the feeling that you were actually a part of the same establishment.
A wide-screen TV parked on one of the walls was turned on and it was on a Bollywood music channel. After we were seated at our table I asked the waitress if they had any music because the silence was eery. She gave me a blank look and said there was music playing. I said, ‘Well we can’t hear it’. And then she turned up the TV which wasn’t what I was expecting and we could then hear Bollywood-type singers performing in English.
There were table cloths on the tables but the candles had not been lit and the burgundy paper napkins are quite underwhelming.
The laminated menu reads well with plenty of options and many gluten-free choices. We chose a couple of entrees and mains with rice while Alfie went for two kid’s menu options with nothing Indian about them.
The food arrived very quickly. Probably too quickly. It made me nervous that the food is all pre-prepared and re-heated as ordered. The pappadums were first to appear and I was expecting them to be warm as if they’d come straight from the hot oil but they were cold suggesting they’d been sitting out the back for a while.
The tandoori chicken wings had lovely flavour but hadn’t been heated all the way through (or re-heated) and the presentation with all the chopped up vegetables decorating the stainless steel plate was straight from the 70′s.
The Pakoras were larger than expected and had a tough exterior suggesting they weren’t freshly made either and again, were not particularly hot. I found these to be quite tough like they’d been re-heated a few times and nondescript as it was difficult to distinguish exactly what was in them except for salt – just far too salty and we could have done with a lot more of the yoghurt dip to get them down. Again, the presentation of this dish was dated.
Our two curries arrived at the same time and the first I tried was the Saag Gosht that was lamb with spinach. This was a delicious curry and I appreciated the presentation in the authentic Indian bowl.
We then tried the chicken vindaloo and while we expected it to be hot, it was extremely hot. There seemed to be nothing much to this dish apart from chopped chicken and a runny, fiery sauce.
With all the salt and the heat we ran out of drinks fairly quickly but this went unnoticed by the three wait-staff and we left swiftly.
We had a pleasant enough experience as our expectations were fairly low and having already walked past the restaurant several times, we knew it had a function-room look about it. However more thought needs to go into how the dishes emerge from the kitchen and simple touches like buying quality white napkins and lighting candles would be of benefit – no more burgundy please! The TV screen should be removed as this only serves to make you feel you are in some club or RSL and replacing it with some contemporary dinner music would be appreciated.
The restaurant doesn’t have a website but I have linked to Boambee Bay Resort.