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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bombay Bazar's New Location Now Serves Lunch and Snacks

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge Bombay Bazar's lunch plate, $5.95. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Bombay Bazar's lunch plate, $5.95.

Last November, water damage forced Valencia Street's Bombay Bazar and Ice Creamery to shut down and look for a new location. And when SFoodie reported on the market's reopening -- just a block west of Rainbow Grocery, on the corner of South Van Ness and Division -- Bombay Bazar was serving only pints of its ice cream and no hot food.

However, a few months later, the shelves of spices and household supplies are restocked, the scoops are back, and the owners have set up a small kitchen in back. During the day, they're preparing chaat -- snacks like samosas with chickpeas and bhel puri, aka puffed-rice salad -- and a $5.95 lunch special, which you can eat at tiny, shiny tables surrounded by bags of cumin. (Additional chaat such as pav bhaji, a sort of vegetable curry slider, are available on weekends.)

The lunch plates are simple: a choice of a curry or stir-fried

vegetable, some basmati rice, a cucumber-onion relish, and a lightly

sweetened raita (yogurt relish) with chickpea-flour pearls. The curries

are simple, too, but not dull. SFoodie was served a saucy mixed-vegetable curry, cardamom and ginger arcing over its aroma, and a

simpler stir-fry of turmeric-dyed potatoes and parval, a finger-length

North Indian gourd that resembles dense-fleshed zucchini.

The

food wasn't quite up to the standards of Vik's lunch plates, but it was

lighter and fresher than the ghee-drenched North Indian curries that

lurk in the steam tables of San Francisco's Indian buffets. The rich

incense -- smelling like a field of flowers stuffed into a 10-by-20-foot room

--  seeped into our clothes as we ate, leaving us perfumed for the

return to work. This time, we passed up the packets of fresh curry leaves and cardamom ice cream, but at least we know where to get them should the need hit.

Bombay Bazar: 245 South Van Ness (at Division), 864-2193.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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