by Andrew Morrison | One particular stand out from a recent trip to Portland was the new and expansive Division Street location of Bollywood Theatre, a killer Indian street food joint that originally debuted on NE Alberta St. back in 2012. It was one of the best eating experiences I’ve had this year, and I wish to hell we had something just like it here in Vancouver’s restaurant scene, which would benefit hugely from a shot in the Indian arm. The short video below – produced by the restaurant – will give you an inkling as to what the place is all about…
The new location’s open concept interior is – as you can see from the shots below – pretty as all get out. The worn wooden benches, bright fabrics, myriad milieu ephemera (everything from Ghandi shrines to “Spitting Prohibited” signs) and attention to detail – not to mention the intoxicating panoply of smells – lend it a more hallucinatory than cinéma vérité feel, but that hasn’t stopped Portland’s local Indian community from loving the hell out of the place.
The food kicks serious ass for cost with prices hovering in the $15 range for a fill-up that could include things like addictive kati rolls, thali platters of pork vindaloo and chicken curry, and Goan-style shrimp in slickly spiced, citrus-zinged coconut milk. The flavours from owner/chef Troy MacLarty (pictured below right – a farm-to-table disciple of Berkeley’s famed Chez Panisse Café) are bright and punchy, and the quality/authenticity of his ingredients is unimpeachable (NB: the restaurant has a satellite store selling all manner of imported Indian spices and edibles).
The drinks program is no slouch, either, with its tidy mix of vernacular cocktails and beers. Our own Vij’s in South Granville has them beat in the wine department, but Bollywood Theatre has no pretensions of being anywhere remotely close to fine dining (it’s counter service, plus you bus your own tables), which is another reason why I’d love to see something like Bollywood Theatre here, particularly in False Creek-Olympic Village, which could really use something that didn’t feel like a corporate Cactus Club/Earls amalgam that’s been covered in craft beer paint.