Bombay Talkies – Vegan & Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, Brickfields
Words: Matt Brown
Photos: Rich Callahan
Anyone who has thought that vegetarian and vegan cooking means limited options has obviously never had to navigate their way through the epic 10-page menu at Bombay Talkies. From housemade sodas to crepes, curries, sandwiches and pizzas, if this is your first time visiting their airy and spacious location opposite Nu Sentral mall in Brickfields, trust the friendly staff to help guide you into a world of colours, tastes and flavourful experiences.
The brand new set-up opened in mid-September after a long search for premises in the vibrant neighbourhood beloved of tourists and locals alike. Atul and Jigna are the husband and wife team behind Bombay Talkies KL, with their dream of welcoming everyone into their world of Indian street food and home cooking already proving to be a big hit after opening so recently. So often vegetarians and vegans find themselves relegated to the salad section of the menu; Bombay Talkies specialises in full vegetarian options, with a second, four-page Vegan menu, as well as offering many dishes for those following the Jain philosophy of vegetarianism which also excludes root vegetables. The kitchen features four Indian chefs working at different stations to provide the cornucopia of options available – Indian, Indo-Chinese, South Indian and Tandoor, with their Sweets chef arriving shortly.
Bombay Talkies KL Starters
The Chilli Cheese Dim Sum (RM20) is entirely made in-house, with the mixed vegetable and mozzarella filling packing a spicy punch. The Black Channa Hummus (RM14) is served with lentil falafel that is perfectly crispy on the outside and is made using three different kinds of lentils. The hummus is made with black chickpeas, and the pita is vegan. This is a much more subtle-tasting hummus than the tahini overload I’m used to, and the combination with the falafel is excellent.
Continuing the theme of using interesting colours, the Vada Bao (RM9) uses a charcoal bun and holds a very tasty potato cutlet mixed with spices and chutneys – at this point, I realised just how ‘meaty’ vegetarian food can be. The Dabeli Bao (RM11) uses mashed, spiced and seasoned potatoes with coriander leaves, chickpea flour crispies and is slightly spicier, with some pomegranate seeds providing effective sweetness to the spicy mix. My favourite from this section of the menu was the Mumbai Kheema Pau (RM12), which contains incredibly tasty minced mushroom vegan meat that has been flavoured and cooked in a way that really elevates a vegan dish to a level where a more omnivorous food writer would happily eat it daily.
The Risotto Cherry Tomatoes (RM26) is well-cooked and has just the right level of sweetness from the tomatoes mixed throughout. We also sample the Vegetable Biryani (RM25), which comes in the traditional handi bowl and is bursting with flavour and tender vegetables. Hakka Noodles (RM20) is Chinese-influenced, one of the spicier items on the menu and can be served dry or with a gravy sauce.
Bombay Talkies Brickfields Mains
Served inside a cabbage leaf, the Indian Sizzler (RM20) has minced cauliflower and mixed vegetables, jeera rice, which is rice cooked with cumin seeds, and gunchao kheema, a mix of ghee, gharam masala, cauliflower florets and herbs and spices. Each spoonful feels like a whole delicious meal in itself, such is the great blending of flavours and textures in this dish.
A dish with Indian and Pakistani influences is the Paneer Sirka Pyaaz (RM25), featuring sweet and sour paneer tikka with the ingredient that the dish is named after – vinegar-soaked pearl onions.
The entire table agreed that the showstopper amongst our bountiful feast at Bombay Talkies was the Paalak Chaat (RM14). Spinach leaves are coated in chickpea flour and then fried, then covered on the plate in yoghurt and chutneys for added flavour. These were a delightful surprise, somehow seeming like very substantial tacos but with no cheese or meat and a cooling effect from the yoghurt that was a great element amongst so many spicier dishes.
If you know anything about Indian food, it’s that their capacity for creating incredible bread and roti knows no bounds. The kitchen at Bombay Talkies was keen to display their expertise in this arena as well, so we were offered quite a few to try – and managed to whittle them down to four so that we could somehow keep eating.
The Chur Chur Masala Paratha (RM10) are colourful and soft triangles of flatbread, ideal for combining with any of the dishes mentioned in this article. But who am I kidding? ALL of the bread, rotis and naans are made to be matched with the spices, herbs and flavours of the creations from the kitchen. Whether you order the super crisp Garlic Naan (RM7), the Tandoori Roti (RM6) or my new favourite, the Bathura (RM6), which is vegan, deep-fried leavened sourdough, you will not be disappointed.
Bombay Talkies Drinks Menu
The housemade Chilli Lime Pineapple Soda (RM14) is highly refreshing and nothing to be scared of if, like me, the use of the word ‘’Chilli’ is an automatic No on a menu. Just as refreshing and light is the Watermelon Juice (RM12), with other juices available being pineapple, mint lime, orange, apple, cucumber lemon, or a mixed juice of two flavours together.
As you would expect from an establishment that so faithfully creates so many different Indian flavours, the Mango Lassi (RM16) is creamy and refreshing, with the mango, yoghurt and cardamom flavours all blended so smoothly.
There are some mocktails available, as well as soft drinks, milkshakes, chais and coffees – Bombay Talkies wants you to have all the choices you possibly can! The Blue Lagoon (RM15) is an eye-catcher with its mint, lemon, blue Curacao syrup and soda.
Reasons to visit Bombay Talkies: it’s new to the scene, but it knows what it’s doing. The food is impressive, and not simply because the menu is so extensive. There is a palpable knowledge and love for Indian culture that emanates from the kitchen and staff and makes the experience of visiting an enjoyable and incredibly satisfying one. Be sure to try the Paalak Chaat with some Bathura on the table as well. And if you find the menu and all of its many tempting choices too overwhelming, just begin at the beginning and keep coming back until you’ve worked your way through.
Bombay Talkies Vegetarian Restaurant KL
Opposite Nu Sentral Mall, 100, Jalan Tun Sambanthan,
Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur
Bombay Talkies Indian Restaurant Brickfields Opening Hours
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm