The Bombay Palace is not a nice place. Venturing inside resembles entering something of a timewarp, which sees the diner transported back to the late 1970's. Occupying a rather lonely outpost at the top end of Northgate Street, this is nonetheless one of the most perenially popular curry houses in Chester, its longevity attributable to a loyal customer base.
Despite all its apparent shortcomings, a trip to the Bombay Palace is nonetheless essential following the compulsory Saturday night skinful in our wellbeloved walled city. Upon sauntering in, one is destined to encounter a hoard of over-refreshed Chester denizens occupying the benches adjacent to the entrance, awaiting their takeout orders with an eager anticipation. Further exploration reveals several tables stretching throughout the main body of the building to the kitchen. Disposable paper tablecloths abound, hardly surprising given the majority of the Palace's clientele have inevitably expended the evening intaking heroic amounts of alcohol. People generally utilise the place as a post-Rosie's drinking outlet, with beer, vodka and wine flowing as freely as the jugs of tapwater bedecking the majority of tables. Service is swift, if a little unfriendly, but then again one has to consider the fact that the waiting staff are overwhelmed by hoards of drunken revellers eager to sample the cuisine.
During the course of my last visit, which took place at the rather ungodly hour of 3am on a sunday morning, I elected to partake of lamb shashlick, accompanied by both pilau rice and a keema naan. The food arrived exceptionally swiftly, indeed I had to unexpectedly extinguish my cigarette after but a couple of drags in order to accommodate what appeared to be a veritable feast. The shashlick itself was exceptionally flavoursome, if a tiny bit tough, the pilau rice fragrant and the keema naan of exceptional quality. My erstwhile compadres are still unable to recall their dishes, a fact that can no doubt be ascribed to their respective intoxicated dispositions.
The bill, when it arrived, was a rather reasonable £21, not bad considering between us we'd managed three meat dishes, three pilau rice, two naans and poppadoms. As ever, the place was overrun by fellow inebriates looking to partake of something with which to line their stomachs following a hard night's drinking.
To summarise, definitely best avoided when sober, but otherwise absolutely essential. In the summertime one can venture into this establishment when the sky is pitch black, and depart as dawn is breaking. The very antithesis of salubrious, the Bombay Palace has few aspirations other than to peddle middling Indian cuisine to the drunken masses.