The most important thing when moving to a new town is finding the best eateries in the area.
As a new kid on the Auchterarder block, I was keen to suss out the local food scene.
I asked friends and colleagues who were local to the area for their recommendations and one name kept cropping up.
There was plenty of praise, while others were curious to know how the food was.
Having opened on March 1, Bombay Club in the Glendevon Hotel is a fellow newcomer, so it felt fitting to check it out.
The Indian restaurant is chef Mandeep Saini’s first solo venture after working in 5-star hotels during his career.
Most recently, he was head tandoor and curry chef at the Gleneagles Hotel.
We ventured up Auchterarder’s high street to the Glendevon Hotel on a Thursday night, just after 8 o’clock.
There are two doors as you go in, one on the right for the bar and one on the left for the restaurant. The Glendevon and Bombay are two separate entities working together, one tasked with drinks and the other food.
Although we entered through the wrong door, one of the workers greeted us pleasantly and went to fetch someone who could seat us.
The bar area was lovely, bustling with people chatting and enjoying themselves. It instantly felt welcoming, which is pleasant as a newcomer.
We sat by the window and liked watching outdoor going-ons almost as much as the decor. Green foliage adorns the walls and is sat on the table, while the bar area has the most beautiful stained glass lights on the ceiling.
I had never been to a pub setting that sells Indian food but I loved this unique take. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their meals as chatter and clinking glasses filled the air.
The food at Bombay Club
The menu is split into sections. There are main and starter pub classics and the rest is Indian, grouped into Indian classic starters, non-veg and veg mains, from tandoor, Mandeep’s specials, Indo-Chinese and sides.
Bombay Club also has a lunch and kids menu, while the Glendevon provides the drinks. The bar has cocktails, wines, draught beers and ciders. We kept things simple with two cokes.
Accompanied by my partner Joe, we chose the mini poppadum and plain naan as sides. The quality of these was outstanding for the price – sitting at £2.95 for the poppadum and £1.95 for the naan.
Our server brought us the poppadum as a starter coupled with three dips. While I’m not 100% sure what they were, I savoured every taste. One was sweet and tangy mango, another had fresh notes of citrus, and the other was tomato delight.
Each burst of flavour enhanced the crunch of the poppadums, raising the expectation bar for our mains. The dish came with around 20 mini poppadums – the perfect amount to share and explore the dips.
For my main dish, I opted for the goan prawn curry, which was served with a coconut cream, curry leaves, mustard, onion and tomato sauce. The prawns absorbed the fragrant flavours of the dish, creating a tangy, sweet and spicy harmony.
From the coastal state of Goa in India, the curry is a traditional dish that features the region’s locally available ingredients, such as prawns, coconut and spices.
The presentation was fantastic, served in a deep-handled bowl with herbs scattered on top. My prawn to sauce ratio was spot on. The spicy warmness enhanced the cosy, welcoming atmosphere of the restaurant.
It paired beautifully with the soft and fluffy naan, scooping and soaking up the coconut kick. The chew of the bread added another layer of texture.
Joe tucked in to the chicken tikka burger with Szechuan, mayo, tomato, onion and green chutney. Rather than chilli fries, he asked for plain and our server was more than happy to accommodate that request.
The burger put an Indian flair on pub grub, boosting the taste of a traditional chicken burger and fusing together the collaboration of the Glendevon and Bombay Club.
The chicken was cooked to perfection, tender and flavourful. It was juicy in the middle, spilling spices onto his tongue.
His only complaint was it was overstuffed and fell to pieces easily. This did not distract from the layers of sauce, meat and salad, which gave a satisfying bite.
His fries were a highlight. They were soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Too often chips can be overdone, underdone, or coated in salt, but Bombay Club had nailed it.
Our mains were £13.95 each and were great value for money.
I had high expectations for the desserts but, unfortunately, these were the most disappointing part.
Joe ordered the sticky toffee pudding and although it had lovely presentation, it was hard in the middle.
My dessert, the gulab jamun, felt overpriced for what I was served. If you’re not familiar with this sweet treat, it is made from reduced milk solids or milk power, deep-fried into round dumplings and soaked in sugar syrup.
By the time it arrived, the vanilla ice cream was almost a puddle and there were only two balls. Despite this, the texture and taste were spot on. The dumplings were soft, moist, and sweet.
Both desserts were £6.95 which did feel slightly too much for what we were given. The potential was there, it just missed the mark.
Bombay Club Auchterarder verdict
Bombay Club has found the equilibrium of being a hotel pub restaurant and an Indian dining experience.
Although I felt like the desserts were a letdown, our mains and sides were delicious and excellent value for money.
The overall price of our meal surprised me – I expected a higher bill for the quality and quantity of what we received.
Our servers were exceptional, always smiling and happy to help. Additional cutlery or water was prompt.
With a huge menu, I’d love to return to Bombay Club and try out more of its offering.
Address: Bombay Club, Glendevon Hotel, 196 High Street, Auchterarder, PH3 1AF
Tel: 017646 62578
Price: £53.70 for two mains, two sides, two soft drinks and two desserts
For more restaurant reviews, check out our food and drink section.