Grub Scout: Bombay Palace shines with extensive array of Indian dishes

Bombay Palace

Turkey Creek - Knoxville

10901 Parkside Drive

865-482-6192

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The Grub Spouse and I agree on most international cuisines, but unfortunately, we couldn't be more opposite when it comes to Indian food. It's one of my absolute favorites, while The Spouse tolerates it at best. So you can guess which of us was more enthusiastic about our recent visit to the new Bombay Palace Indian restaurant in Turkey Creek. Having a coupon in hand made the experience even more palatable for yours truly.

The single dining room was about half full on a weeknight, and we were promptly greeted and shown to a booth. The space itself exudes an aura of understated elegance with an appropriately minimal amount of cultural influence, namely in the predominantly dark-mustard-yellow wall color. The table presentations suggest an emphasis on finer dining, although I was a bit perplexed by the paper place mats located underneath the glass tabletops.

The menu is expansive and covers a number of traditional Indian-cuisine categories, including chats (savory snacks), soups, vegetarian dishes, tandoori (clay oven) specialties, seafood, chicken and lamb specialties, and biryanis (rice-based specialties). Among these, The Spouse and I took note of dishes like the lamb vindaloo (extra-hot, spicy lamb cooked in a sharp, tangy sauce), kalmi kabab (marinated and barbecued chicken on skewers) and the shrimp or scallop masala.

There are also several chef's specialties, most of which are iron-skillet-cooked karahai style. The Spouse almost ordered the chicken karahai, which is prepared in an Indian gravy with onions, tomatoes and bell pepper.

Our server started us off with a basket of crispy lentil wafers (papadum) with mango chutney and a spicy green dipping sauce. We also ordered the meat samosas from the appetizer menu. This pair of savory baked pastries offered up a delightfully unique array of flavors and textures, and even The Spouse thought the papadum and chutney was a winning combination.

The Spouse ordered the chicken biryani, a classic Mughlai dish, which was presented as a massive helping of rice with mildly spiced chunks of marinated chicken. I thought it was quite good, and we ate on it for days. I ordered the House Specialty combo dinner featuring chicken tandoori, lamb rogan josh, vegetable korma and the requisite naan (bread) and mulligatawny soup.

I thought my entire feast was wonderful, from the thick, sour soup to the chewy naan to the enticing spice palette displayed in the korma and lamb, both of which I dolloped out over a generous serving of rice. The red tandoori chicken was tender and tasty, and once again, the portions were substantial enough to generate plenty of leftovers.

A note about the service: Bombay Palace got very busy while we were there (mainly due to the many other coupon-wielding patrons like us), and there was a period where the four proprietors covering the floor had trouble keeping up. I'm sure the malfunctioning fire alarm and the arrival of a fire truck didn't help the situation, but these gentlemen were all extremely apologetic and more than made up for any delays with stepped-up service once they got the alarm silenced and were caught up on their tasks.

Considering their workload, the kitchen did a decent job of keeping up with orders. The food delivery was slower than average but not ridiculously so.

So all in all, I look forward to a future visit to Bombay Palace, perhaps to try out their lunch buffet. However, I'll probably wait for the coupon furor to die down, so there's no need to ask, "Where's the fire?"

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Bombay Palace

Food: 4 stars (out of five)

Service: 3.5

Atmosphere: 4

Overall: 4

Address: 10901 Parkside Drive

Phone: 865-482-6192

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week

Beer and wine service only

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Bottom Line: The spicy (and even the not-so-spicy) flavors of Indian cuisine come alive at this new Turkey Creek eatery.

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