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Cheap Eats

Bollywood Grill: Hot Lunch For $9.99

By SARA GRANT, sagrant@ctnow.com

CTNOW

10:29 AM EST, February 26, 2014

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Why should a quick lunch have to mean settling for a soggy grab-n-go sandwich or sitting in the work cafeteria? Bollywood Grill in Glastonbury features a daily, hot, flavorful lunch buffet that features classic Indian dishes and a calming atmosphere.

On a recent quiet Thursday, a friend who has just moved to Glastonbury and I popped into Bollywood Grill because you can't beat a hot lunch for $10. The smell of spices hits as you walk in the door, and large, colorful Indian paintings hang above each table in the high-ceilinged dining room and fun lamps hang by the dozens, creating a calming, dimly lit atmosphere.

I was intrigued by the yogurt-based lassis on the menu and went with the mango. Yogurt-based, the smoothie-like drink was refreshing and had strong mango flavor paired with a yogurt tang.

My friend was lucky enough to be done working for the day and went with the Bollywood Chai Martini that came in a cool presentation of a martini glass without the stem sitting in a clear bowl filled with ice to keep the drink chilled. She described it as boozy and subtly sweet.

Moving right to left, the buffet started with two soups (tomato with Indian spices and hot and sour) and vegetable pakora that were great starters. The tomato soup wasn't too creamy and had a great spice to it. The pakora, which resembles sort of a vegetable potato latke, was overwhelmingly one of our favorites of the meal. Hot and crispy, you could see the green color from the vegetables inside when the small, fried ball was broken apart. One of the employees heard us raving and brought out a fresh batch without us asking.

We then scattered small portions of popular Indian dishes in circles around our plates, sampling almost everything, dishes like chicken tikka masala over basmati rice, kadai paneer, chickpeas and a piece of garlic and regular naan each. We also each grabbed a bowl of something called dahi papri and were glad we did.

The tikka masala was flavorful, creamy and not at all spicy. Poured over the rice it had the perfect balance of textures.

The kadai paneer, chock-full of peppers, had a little kick and the sauce left behind was perfect for naan dipping. We asked if we were eating tofu, because we're both not big fans but were enjoying the sampling. The waitress, who was happy to answer our questions, told us paneer is actually whole-milk based rather than soy-based.

The dahi papri was a dish made with chips, chic peas and potatoes topped with yogurt and tamarind sauce. It was the most peculiarly delicious mixture of tangy, mushy and crunchy.

After another quick round of the savory stuff, we finished with bread pudding and gulab jamun (hot cheese balls dipped in honey syrup). The lightly fried balls had been sitting in the honey soaking up the sweetness, so they didn't need any extra sauce and the inside texture was smooth and delicious.

The total bill came to $33.87 for two lunches and two drinks. Each weekday buffet was $9.95, the lassi was $3.95 and the martini was $8. We walked away in under an hour and we were both incredibly satisfied, agreeing we'd be back.

Bollywood Grill, 2333 Main St., Glastonbury, is open Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Lunch buffet closes at 3 p.m. Information: 860-734-0001 and bollywoodgrillglastonbury.com.

The Details

2333 Main St., Glastonbury

860-734-0001, bollywoodgrillglastonbury.com.