Indian at Boambay

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’.

photoIB4So 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.

The setting

The setting

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 two curries with Alfie's chips in the background

The two curries with Alfie’s chips in the background

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.

Tandoori Chicken Wings $12.00

Tandoori Chicken Wings $12.00

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.

Tandoori Chicken Wings $12.00

Tandoori Chicken Wings $12.00

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.

Saag Gosht

Saag Gosht

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.

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo

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.




  1. The scariest part of this story is that Carl’s life-long mates liked the restaurant so much that they recommended it. 🙁

    I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a vindaloo type dish.

  2. Well at least you can say that you have tried it 🙂 That is the downside to being a good cook, we expect the professionals to show us something special. You should invite all of Carl’s life-long mates over for dinner sometime and show them what Indian food should taste like 🙂 Fun as always Charlie!

  3. Phew now I’m scared to ever cook a meal for you. No just kidding. It is disappointing when you know you could make it better yourself, but at least you didn’t need to wash up.

  4. It’s a shame that your last meal of the vacation wasn’t a little better than this. Of course good cooks always have very high standards. 🙂 The swim club sounds like a great find for Carl. That’s cool that he joined them.

  5. We had a horrible experience with Indian in Forrester. OMG. So. Bad. My chana masala was a can of chickpeas and a can of tomatoes. BLERgh. You just have to pray for no food poisoning. It would have been nice for you to have a nice meal on your last night. Those chippies look alright!

  6. It’s a bit like walking into a time warp sometimes, isn’t it? What a funny experience – perhaps the person who ordered chips was the most sensible after all!

  7. Isn’t it funny when people give you recommendations? I’m sure they mean well but sometimes they just don’t have the same taste buds 🙂

  8. Oh and I get what you mean about chairs where you can hang a bag too. I also find bars seats and stools without hooks frustrating because your bag is so low to the floor!

  9. Oh my …. a let-down after glowing recommendations. Carl’s new friends may be nice, but I would hesitate of future recommendations.

  10. sucks when meals are kinda, well, not that great. i had indian last night and was lucky – it was perfectly cooked and the sauce was nicely balanced.

  11. I’m kind of bummed. I love Indian food and I was expecting a glowing description of a fabulous meal. 🙁 Oh well, can’t win ’em all!

  12. While it’s always a bummer to not have a great meal when you pay to dine out, what’s really sad is that the food wasn’t the proper temp…doesn’t take a lot to make that happen! Sounds like perhaps the owners are stretched a bit too thinly there. But I’m glad the rest of your vacation was a good time.

  13. Dear Charlie… yikes! On a positive note, hooray for the Saag Gosht. I hope it redeemed an otherwise disappointing meal. By the way, I like your un-sugar-coated reviews. Honesty is the best policy! Keep up the good work.

  14. Oohhh… too bad because the food looks pretty good in pictures. But I guess that not every restaurant has to be a winner. 🙁

  15. Vindaloo was often my pick at my family’s favourite Indian place growing up. Thank heavens they were restrained with their salt though!

  16. An empty restaurant is always a clue. Always.

  17. Oh Charlie, I am sorry that you did not enjoy the food in this restaurant…It is very frustrating…well, people have different taste and likes…

  18. The worst part of it is that the food wasn’t hot enough for safety, and goodness knows how many times it had been reheated- yuck. I got a dreadful bout of food poisoning once, and the Dr said he sees so many cases from spring rolls because they tend to sit in bainmaries for hours festering away at too low a temperature. I think you dodged a bullet there Charlie!

  19. I often find the starters in Indian restaurants are sadly not up to much. I know the place near me cooks things to order but even then – stuff which should be crispy… “isn’t”, and so on. The main courses aren’t bad, though I have images of their kitchen having 4 or 5 giant pots of “base” sauce, and they just throw in some meat or veg and heat through with the sauce when ordered.

    I’d rather have a sub-par curry than go swimming in the sea every morning at 9am… no way!

  20. We had this MOST horrible experience at an Indian place in Florida. HORRID. A chicken tikka masala with possibly squash as a base?? And parsley?? YUCK! This seems to be quite bad, though I don’t think many can match this Orlando place for taste terribleness – I don’t even know if that word exist, but I can’t express my disgust in any other word. I always get super annoyed with the boxed rooms and rounded chairs, and dingy feel of lights. This place fits the bill all right, lol! Of course, no music is always preferable to the bad Bollywood music some places insist on playing.

    What’s scary that there are people whop actually love it 🙁

  21. Indian food is always hit or miss with me! I have had some bad experiences but also some very amazing ones!

  22. I can’t stand when restaurants have a TV. It’s so unnecessary! At least they had some authentic serving ware. Sounds like Alfie’s kid’s menu mightn’t have been a bad choice.

    That’s a bit worrying that the locals love it. Must be the only Indian around.

  23. Maybe the new life-long mates are really pissed when they get to this place? When I go out for dinner, I have a rule – cloth napkins or they aren’t serious about being a quality eatery. Call me a snob. That’s how I made it through children without having to eat fast food. I told them we could go anywhere that had cloth napkins.

  24. How disappointing, I’ve had an experience on vacation like that where a restaurant came recommended and you know it’s going to be bad as soon as you walk in, but you preserver and it turns out as bad as you thought it would. It sounds as if they rely on the guests of the hotel as they don’t have much choice. I abhore a TV in a restaurant, a bar maybe, but hate it in a restaurant.
    I have the same bowls!

  25. I know you say you weren’t shocked, but it must have been disappointing. I think you have higher expectations than many, based upon your own cooking abilities and your excellent entertainment capabilities. Those who don’t look for the special touches are probably never disappointed. Expecting nothing, they aren’t let down. With underwarmed food, I am glad you didn’t get sick!

  26. That was a sour noted to end your holiday. Too bad. Makes you wonder what the swim club members saw in the place. Could the place be any better once the dinner rush has begun? On the other hand, your favorite Indian restaurant back home will look twice as good the next time you dine there.

  27. I’ve learnt the hard way that you have to know the kind of food the recommender eats to weigh up the recommendation. This does sound a bit grim, my local pub has an enormous menu but all that means is that everything is straight from the freezer or microwave. The restaurant is always heaving and often recommended, purely for the width of choice and size of portions. Good food doesn’t seem to come into it. GG

  28. Well at least it filled your hungry bellies on your last night there.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  29. LOL!! I will continue to steer clear of that place too!! Thanks for the tip…
    what a shame though, as there are so many nice Indian restaurants. Sorry for your experience 🙁

  30. aaaw nooo! That’s terrible and I can see how you were kinda obliged to stay and see how it pans out even though you wanna run outta the place!

  31. Interesting review; some good some bad! Shame it wasn’t cooked (or reheated!) properly.

  32. Ah too bad the experience was horrible especially when someone recommended it. It seems like some basic things are missing from this restaurant and some stuff can be improved quickly. I don’t see this restaurant would survive any longer unless this day you visited was exception… 😀

  33. Don’t you just hate it when restaurants disappoint? Especially on your last night of holiday.

    But it looks like you had a good time, and that is what matters most.

  34. Ahhh nothing worse than disappointing food!! At least now you know if you ever go back….looking at the bright side 🙂

  35. Scary! Hope your stomach was ok after that ‘cold wing – hot/hot chicken’ dinner.

  36. I am glad the rest of your holiday was nice. Sometimes you just run into these kinds of issues. However, it sounds like a food safety issue when food is not hot. I hope everyone is feeling okay as there is nothing worse then getting food poisoning on a holiday.

  37. Boo. I’ll be staying away from that restaurant!

  38. I always get nervous when my food is brought to me too quickly too!! It looks great though!

  39. It does not sound like a good experience. Indian food is amazing, but obviously much nicer when it’s freshly prepared. Now you need to go somewhere for a great experience 🙂

  40. Always interesting to see what’s on the menu and the presentation of food from an ethnic restaurant on the other side of the globe as compared to here. Thanks Charlie!

  41. Blech! Cold food that is supposed to be hot is awful! And I don’t like spicy food… a little but if heat is okay, but I don’t enjoy my mouth feeling like it’s in need of a fire extinguisher! 😉 xo

  42. Oh a shame that it wasn’t the best Indian meal you’ve had…but I guess it’s hard when you go on holidays because you’re not local, you don’t know the really good restaurants. And hahhaa I couldn’t stop laughing at your comment about no more burgandy I totally agree! I hate the colour as is and hate using that coloured napkins!

  43. Hi Charlie, the tandoori chicken look finger licking good and the chicken vindaloo I’m sure it taste heavenly. The gravy look so good no doubt it’s a bit on the spicy side but the hottest curry are phall and Tindaloo.

    Have a nice day.


  1. […] the last day of our holiday and before we spent the evening at the Indian Restaurant, we drove to the Big Banana.  The reason we went on the last day is because Carl had been hoping […]

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