Review: Bombay Cricket Club

Updated 6.12 – prices/comments

People who know Indian cooking well, realize that the flavor and quality vary greatly throughout the country. India has its share of specialty dishes by region. Southern India is geared towards lighter meals served with Sambar. China has had a large influence in some regions because of its trading routes, a specialty known as Indo-Chinese cooking. Northern India is where the bulk of the dishes offered at The Bombay Cricket Club are most influenced, though a smattering of Middle Eastern dishes is thrown into the mix.

First a warning: The Bombay Cricket Club has a bit of a reputation for being its own fascist country. This reputation is frequently deserved. Be prepared for long waits almost any night of the week. Make a reservation, but make sure everyone in your party is there on time. You won’t be seated until all have arrived. Since there is little room to wait, you have to stand in the doorway blocking everyone, which just pisses the owner off. This is not a good thing – make him wait too long and he’ll throw you out and give your table to somebody else. Get there late for a reservation? Good luck. Come on a busy night without a reservation and you’ll barely be acknowledged, just summarily turned away. Want food to go? You might get it if everyone is in a good mood and they aren’t too busy. Other nights you’ll just be waved out the door. One final note – this is not a good place to bring kids – they won’t have the patience – the kids or the staff.

All this being the case, the place is packed every night with happy diners. It is small, the tables are very close together, and the sound level is so high you almost have to shout. There must be a reason for these crowds, and all you have to do is get a table and sample the food to find out why. Fortunately they will allow you to order a drink while you wait.

If you are a first time customer, you will get special attention from your server. They will show you the specialties of the house and guide you through the menu. When you order you will also be asked how hot you want each dish. They use three different types of chilies to get the heat where you want it – habanero, Thai, and Indian. I like things pretty darn hot but usually get medium which is pretty spicy. I can’t even imagine what the hot must be like.

Start with the mango-rita, a smooth margarita with mango puree that goes down easy but packs a wallop! While you sip you’ll have plenty of time to browse the extensive menu and munch some of the flat bread, piping hot from the tandoor oven, such as the Garlic or Onion Naan.

The dishes are complexly spiced, offering layers of flavor. Some of the better entrees include:

Chicken Makhani – chicken and fresh puréed tomatoes with butter, peppers, ginger, garlic, and cream. Chicken Saag – Chicken sautéed with fresh spinach, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and bittersweet fenugreek leaves. Tandoor Chicken – marinated overnight, with yogurt, garlic, and spices, then cooked in the traditional clay oven and served with tomatoes and onions. Chicken Tikka Masala – Another chicken from the Tandoori oven, sautéed in olive oil, fresh ginger, garlic, saffron cream and a complex masala sauce made from cardamom, coriander, and mace among other spices.

Lamb is a big part of Indian cooking and it doesn’t disappoint here. Try the Lamb Shahi – lamb leg, slowly simmered, sautéed with fresh tomatoes, saffron, ginger, garlic, and olive oil, then garnished with almonds, raisins, and cilantro. There is also a large selection of vegetarian options.

If you can put up with the attitude upon entering, you’ll generally get very good service when you sit down. Overall, the food is generally fine, though not terribly authentic to what you’ll get in India.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. Anonymous says

    Don’t ever go to Mayuri’s on Walker Rd in Beaverton, it was probably the most unfriendly restaurant I’ve ever been to as far as service and atmosphere. It seemed to be more of a private club for a certain clique of south Indians only. Other people have had the same experience too. India Grill on 29th & Burnside is good as well India House by the MAX downtown. This from someone born in Bombay.

  2. Susan says

    wow I was surprised or maybe I read that wrong, but I think Portland has quite a bit of good Indian food, Northern in particular, but I’ve had good Southern too. For example Swagat (I prefer the westside one) or India House. Can you say more about that?

  3. PDXFoodDude says

    I just said “this is better than most food from that region in the Portland area”. There is some Indian food around that is pretty awful, some that is pretty good. Personally, I don’t like Swagat much because it tends to be very salty, though the westside is better then the downtown. Swagath in Orenco can be good, but varies terribly from month to month. I haven’t been to India House, but it is on my list.

  4. Mossback says

    Swagat is nothing to write home about, just ordinary buffet food like you can find in a million restaurants in any city with an Indian population. The Curry Leaf in Beaverton is the best Indian food in Oregon; it’s authentic, home-style South Indian cooking with a nice mix of Kerala, Andhra, and Tamil dishes.

    This Cricket Club joint sounds like a clone of Gaylord in Palo Alto and Frisco, which is over-salted tourist food. Chicken Tikka Masala is a dead giveaway: that’s an English dish, not Indian at all.

  5. Mossback says

    And BTW, the soupy South Indian curry based on toor dahl and tamarind is called “sambar”; “sambal” is a Southeast Asian cooking ingredient that combines chillies, oil, garlic, and fish sauce.

  6. PDXFoodDude says

    Damn.. I had an argument with my editor about sambar vrs sambal. It started out as sambar but i got over-ruled. Somewhere she is cringing as she reads this.. and I’ll fix it right now.

    Curry Leaf is on my short list of places to visit. Probably would have already if it wasn’t so far out. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Mossback says

    Here’s a good sambar recipe if you’re inclined to cook your own. You can get the tamarind from any Asian grocery, and some Mexican ones. I lived in South India for a while and picked up a taste for it.

  8. PDXFoodDude says

    Thanks for the link. I don’t have much time to cook at home anymore but I think I’ll make time for this. I actually have tamarind on hand, but some of the other spices I’ll have to track down.

    That reminds me, I don’t remember the name, but there is a Indian place out in beaverton off of Murray next to KMart. Have you been there? I’ve heard it is fairly authentic but haven’t been.

  9. Mossback says

    I haven’t tried that one yet, but it’s on the way home so I will.

    BTW, “methi” is fenugreek and “hing” is asafoetida, in case you didn’t know.

  10. Greg Emel says

    India House on SW 11th and Morrison is better food without the Fascism. BCC lost me as a customer several years ago. They just aren’t worth it.

  11. hahaha says

    Indian food? Portland? The simple fact that there is a thread here is amazing–amazingly funny that is. there is NO good south asian food here. none. if you think so, you haven’t lived in a city with a discernable s. asian community. but dream on portlanders–after all, this is such an amazingly diverse city, open and tolerant, the wonderland of the 21st century!!!

  12. Food Dude says

    I don’t get your point. I agree this city lacks good Indian food, which surprises me given that we have a fair amount of Indian residents. But you make it seem like there is a prejudice here against the community. Care to explain and give a few examples?

  13. Chambolle says

    The owner of Swagat was a regular customer of mine; he and his wife were probably my favorite customers at the italian place I was working. Once I asked him, “I’ve tried your place and really enjoyed it (I really did have a great meal that night), but where else would you recommend?”

    And I swear, the smile and shrug he gave me was absolutely authentic. He is NOT the kind of guy that would only look out for his own interests, but he really didn’t know what to recommend.

    I’m intrigued by the Curry Leaf, but everybody (at least blog-wise) seems to agree that they have gone downhill. Plus they’re in Beaverton (I don’t drive), so I probably won’t try them unless somebody has had at least a decent exprerience.

    Any advice?

  14. says

    Love good Indian food. Have tried most of those mentioned here with mixed results. One that no one has mentioned is considered by this humble writer the finest Indian restaurant I have ever visited in any city. Plainfield’s Mayur not only serves some of the best, but it does so in a lovely setting not found in most others here in town, and couples that with a wine list to die for. Go on a Monday night for a real deal on the wine and enjoy Indian food in a fine dining atmosphere.

  15. pollo elastico says

    i tried to go here when i first moved to portland – on a busy night, without a reservation – and we were treated as if we just slit the wrist of a baby seal and drank its blood for sport.

  16. design_girl says

    Another place no one here has mentioned is India Oven on SE Hawthorne and 39th. The atmosphere is little primitive (it’s under the stairs in what looks like an old Mason’s lodge or church), but my husband and I think it’s the best Indian food in Portland of all we’ve tried. We also have indian friends who swear the same.

  17. PDX Gal says

    I went to Bombay Cricket Club last night with my husband and parents. They seated us without reservations, which was nice. Then they proceeded to try and push mixed drinks on my elderly parents, asking them over and over if they were sure they didn’t want a delicious whatch-macallit with mango, etc.

    What they wanted was iced chai tea. They served the iced chai tea drinks with quickly melting ice, and still-hot chai tea (?)I noticed that they charged me $2 for a refill of a small cup of hot chai tea, a little strange.

    The lamb my mother ordered was fatty. I had the chicken tikki masala, it was overly salty, I was not really impressed. Spinach dishes and plate of assorted cheeses seemed ok. I actually feel I’ve gotten comparable food at Indian food carts downtown, or in (gasp) Beaverton.

    The waitress did have noticeable attitude, much more than the quality of the food merited. She was pushing us to order much more food than we were. I think $100 for dinner for four, for average-tasting Indian food is excessive. I much prefer the delicate flavors of Plainsfield Mayur in NW Portland, and their service is far less pushy. I had to check out BCC because of the hype, though I will not return.

  18. says

    I really like this place. The food is good. You are right about the attitude. The mangorita’s are one of the most potent and delicious drinks in Portland I think. I have high tolerance and it still gets me.

  19. pdxrocket says

    BCC lost my wife and mines business years ago as well. They are pretentious and the food is subpar. We will not put up with that type of attitude from a restaurant for it’s service. Every time folks ask about the place we tell them to stay far away…then I point them out of the way to New Delhi in Tigard, just off Barbur Blvd. Best service, and all the food is the best we have had.

  20. VegGuy says

    I have found Lentil Garden and Swagath @ Orenco Station to serve good Indian food. And have listed them from high to low rating.

    Lentil Garden
    18033 NW Evergreen Pkwy, Beaverton, OR Newly opened. Good food. Good vegetarian buffet and decent non-vegetarian choices. They occasionally serve Malai Koftas for lunch. Lentil Garden is my favorite Indian restaurant for lunch buffet in the PDX area. Slow service, but the staff is friendly.

    Swagath @ Orenco Station Limited vegetarian choices for lunch buffet, their saag paneer is really good. They have much more non-vegetarian choices and their naan is really good. They have above average service.

    Plainfield’s Mayur Restaurant
    852 SW 21st Ave, Portland, OR
    Good tasting food, but the flavors have been mellowed out. Good ambiance but pricey and small portion size. Good service, good ambiance.

    16175 SW Walker Road, Beaverton Home-cooked taste to the food. They have a decent lunch buffet, good south Indian food.

    Curry Leaf in Bethany
    I find Mayuri to be better than the Curry Leaf. Went to the Curry Leaf a couple times and found their food to be average. Their service is average.

    India Oven
    3862 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214 Average Indian food.

    India House
    1038 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205 I found India House to be okay, would rate India Oven would be a better choice than India House. I went there for lunch and their vegetarian choices and flavor were sub-par.

    Swagat Indian Cuisine
    4325 SW 109TH Ave, Beaverton, OR Went twice to this location and found the food to be lacking in good flavor.

    Bombay Cricket Club
    1925 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214 I’ve had a poor experience every time I’ve been here (3 times). They probably serve good margaritas, but their Indian food along with the service has been horrible.

  21. DelicioJones says

    While I’ve enjoyed the meals I’ve had at Bombay, (and have yet to experience the soup-nazi-like attitude) I would say hands down the best Indian food I’ve eaten in Portland was at Chaat House. Its a rickety trailer downtown near the library. I always order the special, rarely know exactly what I’m eating, but always look forward to snacking on the leftovers. Though I’ve been to both several times, I find India Oven and Swagat to be boring and typical. India House – the one time I ate there it was TERRIBLY bland. Then again, I like a more than a little spice. I’ve only been to Plainfields once and found it so average, though I’d read numerous rave reviews. I’ve never ventured out to sample Beaverton’s culinary delights, though now I’m curious about Curry Leaf.

  22. Peter says

    Terrible service and at best mediocre food. Went to Bombay Cricket with an important out-of-town guest based on reviews and was deeply embarrassed.

  23. Food Dude says

    Peter, I was there 2-3 weeks ago and thought it had gone way downhill, but based on one meal didn’t want to say much about it. Our service however, was really good.

    It’s on my list as a review I need to update. It hasn’t gotten much attention in the last few years from anyone.

  24. Lisa says

    My husband and I stopped by at 5pm on a Saturday night without a reservation and the owner (?) treated us like dirt. We love Indian food and were eager to try Bombay but were treated so rudely that we will never eat there and we will continue to warn everyone we know.

  25. dhogaza says

    Well, the BCC goes back a long ways. Back to the restaurant Kashmir, which originally began as a spice shop downtown somewhere around 9th and Alder, something like that, in 1979. Spice shop selling cricket gear on the side.

    Ali, who started Kashmir, is a great cook. An aquaintence of mine, who used to own an indian food cart here, called him “an artist, not a cook”.

    When the BCC started here on Hawthorne, years after Kashmir closed, Ali came on board as chef. He and the owner of BCC have known each other from the early 1970s, in Toronto.

    To make a long story short, when BCC started, the food was great on the nights Ali was cooking. Not so good on other nights.

    My understanding is that Ali left some time back, at least a few years (I haven’t been there since about 2000). This could explain the variance between the reputation of the place and the quality of food…

    • Pyramus says

      Ali did in fact leave a few years back, and BCC’s food quality has definitely declined since then.

  26. hermes says

    I’ve lived 2 blocks from the BCC for something like 7 years now, I’ve only eaten there twice and found the food highly overrated and overly expensive. My home town had two really good Indian restaurants and I miss them there’s no comparison. I do really like India 4U at 33rd and Hawthorne. It’s really bare-bones in an Indian spice store with only a few tables. It has next to no atmosphere, they only serve a few dishes per day and it’s all vegetarian but the food is really good and the owners are super-nice and it’s cheap.

  27. says

    emily, have you tried the new East India Company downtown? It’s not bad. If you want an Indian influenced cuisine, try Vindalho. It’s gotten much better over the last year.

  28. emily2531 says

    I really wanted to like this place after hearing good reviews from friends, but I don’t think we’ll be going back. We walked in without reservations for an early dinner and were seated right away. The drink of the house was a “mangorita”, which was a very inelegant glass of tequila topped off with a little mango juice. I couldn’t drink it, and my husband seemed ready to pass out after only a few sips. The food was a bit lack-luster and the spices and seasonings had none of the intensity and richness that I expected. Still looking for a great Indian place in Portland, but so far the best has been in a strip mall in Beaverton.

  29. emily2531 says

    Food Dude, thank you for the suggestions. I’ll try out the East India Co soon (maybe tomorrow). We went to Vindalho about 3 years ago, but I don’t remember why we never went back.

  30. skaterskier says

    I have been a loyal BCC customer for 10 + years. If you know anything about the SIZE of the facility you will understand why the owner plays close attention to the fire codes. He is not rude. He is being safe. For the facilites safety and the customers safety. You can not block the enterance to ANY facility as far as I know. Oh, can I come over and park in front of your garage door Mr Food Dude? Would you like me to bring my family 90 plus cousins to your house and demand that we have a place to sit in your 2 bedroom townhome? I can not understand your bias stuck up review of a very nice facility. The food is wonderful, and the staff are very nice, to everyone. I noticed last night that most of the waiter/esses have changed except for a few. That is normal in the food industry. Any Authentic forgien food goers know that if you want a table at a place you have never been, You call ahead, and make a reservation. That is called planning ahead, or didn’t you last girlfriend that dumped you tell you It is not the owners fault at the BCC, the bleeding whiners in the Portland liberal area can not make a phone call for a reservation. Isn’t Portland called Portucky for a reason? I absolutey LOVE BCCs food. I also like the food at the other facilities mentioned. You don’t need to defame or slanderize a facility for its “size”. Or pick apart the owner that is only looking out for the safety of his Paying customers, according to the Laws that you all vote on for you own safety. You really would not want to be caught in a fire at an Indian Restaraunt? Can you imagine the Headline “Food Dude up in Smoke!” lol…which is just about as much of a headline as your ridiculous Reviews would recieve in the Headlines.

  31. one swell foop says

    Based on this review I have not submitted my resume to the BCC, even though they wound up posting an ad on craigslist looking for servers at one point. On the other hand, I love the policy of not seating people until the entire party is there. Especially in a small restaurants it should be standard policy. I’ve had tables arrive only to have another member of their party meet delay after delay. They wind up ordering, still missing the last person, an hour after they arrive, and wind up screwing the flow of the entire restaurant. So props to them for having wither the balls or spite to implement a sensible policy.

  32. SaltyCod says

    I ate at BCC about 2 weeks ago. The food was tolerable. The service, however, was terrific. We had a reservation for 4 and once three of us were present, the friendly server was happy to seat us. Then, when I asked casually for her experience with two different wines, she insisted on bringing me a taste of both – and I was only ordering a glass! Finally, I wanted to give her a gold star for tolerating my horrible out-of-town friends. Some old men just shouldn’t be allowed to speak.
    Note to all mid-westerners: when a waitress asks how spicy you want it, the appropriate answer should never, under any circumstances, include information about what happens to you when you eat spicy food.

  33. Anonymous says

    We have been sampling Indian food here for 20 years and cannot say enough about the East India Company. Wide variety of dishes that we had not encountered before, wonderful service in a rather elegant venue. Several cuts above the usual buffet with Tandoori chicken, potatoes, Cauliflower etc. etc.


  34. S&C says

    I’ve been dining at BCC at least once a week for almost three years now, and have never had a bad experience. The staff is always extremely friendly, smiling, and patient. The owner is very friendly, and takes great pride in his business. The food is always delicious, is served quickly, and the Mangoritas are served just the way I like them – strong. After reading all of these (mostly negative) reviews, I was disgusted. It’s proven to me that it truly is impossible to make some people happy. This isn’t some snobby fine dining joint where the wait staff are going to kiss your backside for a bigger tip, people. It’s a great neighborhood restaurant with friendly service, reasonable prices, and excellent food. They’re always packed for a reason.

  35. pdx_yogi says

    I shun with a passion anything that smacks of “snobby fine dining”.
    I adore neighborhood places with “friendly service, reasonable prices, and excellent food”.
    BCC ain’t one of the latter, from my personal experience.
    And just because a place is always busy, that’s certainly no argument. So is Spaghetti Factory, PF Chang’s, and Cheesecake Factory.
    So be disgusted if that suits you. Last time I checked, contrary to what many believe in our fine nation, the constitution does not guarantee you the right to not be offended.

    • Mostly Running. says

      Bombay Cricket Club is definitely lacking. I think it’s great they’ve been around for so long and seem to have such a loyal following. The fact that people can eat the food there more than once either makes me sad or glad for humanity. Can’t quite decide. Always love it when the most positive thing to be said about a place is that the drinks are strong.

  36. heartbietz says

    Have visited most of them, Swagat, India oven, BCC. but have been absolutelly ecstatic over East India Company. Excellent Service, wonderful ambience, selection of some newer dishes that i have not experienced before. I have been there six or seven times in the last 9 months and the good news and bad news is that they are getting really busy and the sound level of dining has increased a bit but still tolerable. I will be interested in hearing some other visitors to this venue.

  37. Dave J. says

    Heartbietz, I was there (at East India) a couple weeks ago and LOVED it! The butter chicken was as good as advertised, probably the single tastiest dish I’ve eaten at a restaurant in the past four or five months. The service was outstanding as well–I was there with my young (22 months) daughter, and they treated her very well, brought out a special kids-friendly rice dish for her, etc. Very much looking forward to going back, and making it my usual Indian place in Portland.

  38. Adrianne says

    This review needs an update! My parents are coming to town and I need to know whether I should take them here ;)

  39. NYC-PDX says

    I’ll second Postmoves with a recommendation to Vindalho. However, if you want more “traditional” Indian food, go to East India Co. 821 SW 11th Ave.

  40. pdxyogi says

    I love Vindalho. It is what I would call “modern” PacNW innovative Indian cuisine.
    East India, I also concur that it is well worth it. It tends to be more “authentic” (shudder using that word but there it is!).
    And don’t bother with Bombay. The aggressive upsell, overpriced food, rude service is just not worth it.

  41. pdxjjs says

    On a night when there were 4 empty table in the restaurant we asked to be seated while our friends were parking and were told “its our policy not to seat incomplete parties” (even though we had reservations!). Were offered a drink menu and then expected to stand while drinking overpriced swill even though there were at least 15 empty seats. Repeated our request for a seat to the waitress and were again refused seats by the snotty manager. These people act as though they are doing you a favor allowing you to be in their establishment, and as though they are the essence of pdx coolness. Who needs this kind of crap? I’ll take my business elsewhere.

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