Finding Indian food is always a guaranteed satisfying meal for us. We have yet to eat a bad meal because the ingredients and flavors are always so agreeable. Back in Oman, there were an abundance of Indian restaurants ranging from high-end, five-star dining to small-scale, budget-friendly eateries. We could always eat our fill without busting the bank. But here in Morocco, as was the case in Algeria, the Indian food selection is limited and a bit pricey for the proportion sizes we generally eat. Nonetheless, a traveler passing through Casablanca wanted to meet for lunch and I figured that after backpacking around Morocco and camping in the desert, she might be tired of the typical couscous and tajine fare. Indian food was a welcomed change for her and a treat for Lil’ Z and I.
Being my third visit to Bombay Palace, I already had an idea of what to expect from their menu and service. A singular papadum fried cracker to share for the entire table, deliciously seasoned vegetable samosas, and the only legume-based entrée, a satisfying yellow split-pea dhal. Even though the menu reads “dhal makhani”, it is not the black lentil and red kidney bean stew one would expect but a typical yellow dhal fry.
The lunch specials offer good value though portion sizes are petite. It is especially surprising to see how small the dhal serving is because, as everyone knows, there’s no cheaper protein than legumes. I often order an additional eggplant curry dish, baingan bhartha, just to sop up the mound of basmati rice and plain naan bread included in my meal. My guest enjoyed her chicken tikka, shrimp masala, and cheese naan bread but needed to request pepper sauce as a condiment. Their dishes are surprisingly mild and would be a total disappointment to the Indian palate.
As for service, I wish I had more good to say. The owner always seems perplexed by our family’s presence. Perhaps he assumes like most other Moroccans and West African immigrants, we should speak French. For us to be brown and Anglophone might be conflicting to him, as it has been to many Moroccans that we’ve met. He takes our order in English but never offers the endearing warmth that other Western diners speak of in their raving reviews of the place. When I ask for additional papadum wafers, he reluctantly gives us a second piece, as if I didn’t notice him serving a table of French businessmen one piece per person. I don’t nitpick, but Lil’ Z loves those spicy little crackers and her little tummy can pack away at least two or three pieces easily. While I’d prefer to go elsewhere, the only competing restaurant I know of is Indian Palace. We ate there the night we moved to Casablanca and found their food to be tasty and their service excellent. However, it is a bit more expensive and they serve alcohol, so we continue to frequent Bombay Palace but look forward more authentic cuisine and better service elsewhere.