I recently passed through the priapic perimeters of Putin's peripatetic seat of power, the megalopolis known as Moscow, on a jejune journey, nostalgic for naked nights gone by.
Much has changed since I packed up and left the Slavic Third Rome for a more stationary life in what we might call the nubile New Rome, New York City, which now dares to become the next perilous Pompeii, thanks in no small part to the truculent terrorists in Al Qaeda, which in Arabic means "The Substructure". Substructure indeed.
But we cannot let the terrorists litigate our lives. I boldly adjudged some weeks ago that I would not allow their renowned crimes against humanity to stand in the way of my travel plans.
Putin's Russia is a different place than when I left it over a year ago. Now, gleaming new glass skyscrapers grace the city skyline, while shiny new SUVs shimmer through the streets. There is a distinct air of optimism and celebration in the air, and I can sense it in the air.
Most eXile readers probably remember me as the metaphor-wielding nightlife literary figure, whose distinct literary style which I just revealed above made me a darling of the media world. I was once synonymous with Moscow's beautiful crowd, the embodiment both of its delicious hedonism and its tasteful hauteur.
Now that the eXile has a feral frat-boy reviewer, a certain Dan Higgins, I have been offered a one-off chance to review a restaurant and re-connect with the reader. Incidentally, I met this Higgins once since returning -- he pulled my underwear out from the back of my pants, and somehow managed to pull it over the top of my head, locking it under my chin, then he carried me and he hung me in the garderob at Most, which, as you can imagine, destroyed my chances with a model-level babe who was just about to give me her phone number.
So, welcome to BOMBAY NIGHTS, located right in the center of Moscow. Many of the friendly staff you will recognize from that other commendable Indian dining establishment, Ambas-sador, which sadly closed earlier this year. The chef at Bombay Nights, meanwhile, hails from New Dehli (the Fourth Rome?), something which I, as an Indian from Madras, personally confirmed.
And now, onward with the dishes!
The menu, I should say, offers a wonderful range of Indian dishes from tandoor and vegetarian to South Indian favorites like dosas and paratha.
My dining partner, my old friend "The Shah", was initially impressed with the low-key peach colors, the fine dishes, and the fact that the live music, which can often be loud, was left to a back dark-blue room. Our waitress, a ravishing young Russian girl, eyed me with desire as she took our order.
The Shah started off with the Cheese Pakoras (150R), deep-fried cottage cheese stuffed with mint sauce, while I chose Vegetable Samosas (120R). The price and portions were excellent, as were the samosas, though I would have appreciated chutneys or spicy mint sauces added. I also tried the Rasam soup (90R) from my homeland in southern India, which proved to be a spicy joy.
"Hey, Vijay," the Shah said to me while plucking his pakoras. "Look at our waitress when she comes back."
"I'm looking, man," I said.
"If you look this way, you can see the outline of her-"
Right then our waitress returned with our main courses. We ordered two vegetarian dishes -- Dal Makhana (240R), creamed lentils that were a little underspiced for my tastes, and the superstar of the meal, Baingan Na Partha (250R), made from roasted eggplant pulp mashed with garlic and spices, sauteed with onions and peas. It was suitably spicy, rich and heterogeneous. Poured over steamed rice (100R), and served with Kashta Roti bread (35R), the dishes were delectable, and could have even been better had we chosen a lemon rice or biryani dish.
"What were you saying about our waitress, man?" I asked
"If you look, you can see her pu-"
He couldn't complete the sentence, because he was suddenly too busy attacking the Mutton Dosa (320R), a large, somewhat dry but very tasty dosa, served with sauces and spices on the side to liven it up.