Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Anti-Bollywood

Note: This is filet minion's post. It was misfiled under my name.

Bollywood Greenbelt 3 is the newest place-to-be that depicts the gaudy but chic, brightly cheerful yet mysteriously romantic, very exotic and almost erotic-- transporting you to an entirely different country south of Asia where not even high society fear to tread despite the possibility of rubbing elbows with the "untouchables."

I think “The Guru” triggered the Bollywood fascination among non-Indians, albeit not a full-fledged Bollywood flick (meaning, not produced in Bombay and starring the hottest Bollywood stars, not Hollywood hotties Heather Graham and Marissa Tomei with some homegrown American as leading man who can still copy perfectly his ancestral sing-song accent). Ever since then, I had been awaiting in anticipation the next Bollywood movie sensation. Strangely, one would wonder what makes Bollywood films so engaging when they are all so "formulaic": 1) always with silly song and choreographed dance numbers interspersed in dialogues; 2) boy-meets-girl and once you are led to believe that the fairytale romance is blossoming, some conflict will spring forth out of nowhere (or should I say, from the river Ganges); 3) but the cheesy plot must always finish with a happy ending (where, everyone, of course, MUST erupt into song and dance for the nth time). Quite reminiscent of typical 80s pinoy flicks actually, but I never did find ours amusing. How can I love Bollywood flicks and at the same time despise anything produced by Mother Lily?!? Am I just being unfair to the likes of Romnick and Sheryl when I immediately brand any movie featuring pinoy loveteams baduy?!

I digress. I have nothing against Bollywood in GB3. I practically fell in love with the whole ambience when I first dined there. It’s just that we must never forget that India, albeit overtaking us in outsourcing and is the new Silicon Valley of Asia, is still an impoverished country, so their food, no matter how exotic it looks or smells, can never cost even 1/18 of how much it is priced in Bollywood.

So lo and behold when my eyes serendipitously gazed upon this sign while the cab I was taking detoured from traffic and took a side street near Kamagong/ Pasong Tamo. It looked like the most enticing, most bogchinoypi-able hole-in-the-wall joint! So the next day, we scoured the area for about an hour in broad daylight just to trace it, and I was not the slightest bit disappointed when we found our unicorn. I entered to check their menu, and true enough, it seemed more appetizing with a delightful array of mutton, curry, basmati, etc. I think what piqued my curiosity the most was when the boy who was guarding the place during the day said: “uh mam, sigurado kayong gusto nyo kumain dito?” "Oo, bakit naman hinde?," I replied. To which he answered, “Ah kase mam, kayo lang po ang unang pinoy na makakakain dito, wawarningan ko lang po kayo na gabi-gabi po kase [Indian] o arabo.” Move over Bollywood, welcome to Mumbai, India!

So that night we trooped to Curry Kebab Place with our P200 wine in tow (no corkage fee of course!) And true enough there were at least 20 boisterous Indians drinking who were silenced into stupor at the sight of two pinoys, one korean and one white man in their erstwhile virginal resto. I thought we were violating the exclusivity rule of their private enclave, but they happened to be very much accommodating and even offered us their leftover Johnnie Walker.

The inside is very bare, like a cafeteria but airconditioned. They asked if we wanted to stay in a separate room, but we decided to be amongst the Indians hoping to get a better rate.

The 35 peso for two big samosas were yummy! So were the aloo wadi, the various paneer dishes, and the Mutton served ten ways. The servings for sharing were reasonably sized. For P120 bucks this was a steal.

By the end of the night we were a bit tipsy and asked the men who seemed like the owners why the Bollywood MTV was on mute. Finding out that we didn’t at all mind, is what started the festivities. The next thing we knew, tables were set aside so we could bellydance the night away to the sounds of Ice, Ice Baby remixed Hindi style. Of course, we (the only ladies) were each partnered with the elderly Indians. One stout and another incredibly skeletal.

Then they started treating our white male company to beers (SMLs are dirt cheap P27), and as the night dragged on, Stout dancing partner invited us all to proceed to “the real Bollywood” (his treat) where his son is a DJ and he is part-owner. We politely declined as strutting our stuff at one venue is enough excitement for a night.

My conclusion: if you want true-blue Indian food and the whole Bollywood experience, with your own booze too boot, then go to Curry Kebab on a Friday/Saturday night. If you want to pay 12% EVAT and 10% service charge over and above the exorbitantly priced tamely-spiced but aesthetically presented Indian food, and are hopeful for the remote chance of getting your left shoulder featured in Yaparrazzi, head to Bollywood GB3.

Curry Kebab is located along Estrella Street, off Pasong Tamo and is open until at least 12 midnight. If you want your food Indian-spicy, you must specify so beforehand, as the chef graciously takes the initiative of tempering the spice for non-Indians.


joey said...

Thanks for passing this along! I am always looking for new Indian restaurants :) I love Indian food and pretty much Indian anything. Especially the movies! Watching a real Bollywood movie is amazing. I have watched one with no subtitles so I couldn't understand a word...yet I laughed and cried along with it.

Thanks for the tip!!! :)

tito said...

at first I thought you were referring to the indian resto near sacred heart but if this is on Estrella then it's another find...

miht check it out...been to Mumbai, India, btw, and tasted authentic Indian food the way ordinary Indians do :)

i can't give my name, but we met in that hotdog place in powerplant. :) said...

okay, here's the comment. :)

Robs said...

Another staple of the bollywood movie...the singsong dance routine is usually with pouring rain ending up with the leading man and woman soaking wet (hmmm I wonder why).

Robs said...

Can I just say...this is a great blog and you guys should keep on doing it...please please it keeps me from being homesick. You wouldn't want me to be homesick do you? *grin*

bogchief said...

Thanks for the kind words, pero marami naman curry sa uk diba? So it isnt't this post that's making you homesick!

filet minion said...

wow our once-every-quarter blog has balikbayan commentators?!? naks!!!

now we are motivated to blog at least once a month, if not weekly!

one of the downsides of earning a salary is that we now have enough money to eat at malls, so rarely do we really seek out hole-in-the-wall joints as we used to with our meager student allowances

robs, one of my favorite strange indian sitcoms shown on bbc is the kumars at no. 47, that indian pseudo grannie is hilarious. do you watch that? is she really a lola?

Katrina said...

Hey, THANKS for this! I, too, adore Indian food. Cheap's good and this sounds like it's near where I live! Any landmarks for Estrella St? Which side of Pasong Tamo is it on, near Don Bosco, MCS, or Shopwise?

Filet Minion (I spelled it correctly! ;-)), Kumars at #47 is a Brit show; I sometimes see the actors (especially the guy who plays Sanjeev) on other Brit TV shows or TV movies. The (unscripted?) interactions with the celeb guests can be hilarious! Although I love the grannie's hirits too, it annoys me that they got an actress who looks like she's young and just has powder on her hair to make it look white. Sana 'yung matanda talaga.

karabau said...

Hey Katrina!

Turn left after Brooklyn Pizza, and go straight. It'll be on your right :). I likes the orange cottage cheese cubes (ewan kung anong tawag dun), aloo wadi and mutton biryani. Favorite OT food place of the moment :).

karabau said...

Hopia! It''ll be on your left pala.

christine said...

Yes, please post more often! I miss the funny reviews and comments from your posts. :)

Yay, I'm very familiar with Brooklyn (my 2nd fave pizza after Magoos) so I know how to get there!

kaladkarin said...

er, sorry guys, but i hope you don't mind if i dis-agree. i tried this place around 3 months ago and was sorely disappointed with the food. although i do love the ambience, the orange and yellow walls and yes, the fact that we were the only pinoys eating there at that time. (it helped pa that the pinay waitresses were a bit apologetic for it, we had to keep assuring them - "hindi, ok lang talaga kami.")

we ordered biryani, chicken tikka (tama ba? basta the dry orange chicken dish) and a veggie dish that i don't remember. i'm sorry but when the servings arrived, the first thought was "ah, kaya pala mura." measly. and the food was really mediocre.

of course, i've never been to india and tried authentic indian food. but compared to old reliable New Bombay in DeLaCosta and Swagat in Rada st., Legaspi village, i'd rather go back there. (Swagat is the best indian resto in makati according to an indian officemate and her whole family). Swagat's a bit pricier and less seedy (but you still get the bollywood movies and the music videos, no dancing though ;p) but it has never disappointed. the murgh korma (actually murg anything), anything masala - come to think of it, everything on the menu has been awesome everytime.
no scrimping on ingredients, you can really taste the butter or the ghee, the almonds and the spices. also, you must try the strawberry lassi! :)
cheers guys!

filet minion said...


hehe no offense taken for the dissenting opinion. baka nagbago na sila. cos i've been there twice last month and i found the food not just sulit, but pretty good. (ang defnition kse ng sulit diba-- parang mcdo value meal-- P59 for cheeseburger, fries and coke) but will try that pricey place, once every quarter, kme naman sa bogchinoypi ay kumakain ng medyo mamahalin.

let's give lola kumar the benefit of the doubt. maybe she really is old but her skin is so supple because of some special indian cream like what cleopatra used during the ancient times. ay nye, egyptian pala yun.

btw, this is so non-sequitur, but i'd like to have a morrocan resto here. like a genuine exotic joint ala this movie starring jennifer aniston and ben stiller when they went out on their first date. i forget the title, but how i wish we had some place like that. i dont think ziggurat counts as much though

trinasam said...


"Along Came Polly" is the movie, when Stiller had a potty problem after eating moroccan food with Aniston.

Anonymous said...

One thing that profoundly irritates me is when they try to "Westernize" things , but the problem is they can´t (it goes completely wrong, and i can recognise this because I live in the West). why? BECAUSE THEY ARE INDIAN. Be proud of your on rich culture and stop trying to influence the poor masses who´s only type of entertainment is low- bugdet bollywood films).