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Bangles Indian Cuisine is a Downingtown Stand-Out


All it took was one bad meal at a local Indian restaurant in 2012 to motivate Santosh Ravindran and his wife, Priya Vijay, to open a place of their own. Two years later, with no prior industry experience, the couple unveiled Bangles. The tamarind-hued 110-seater has since become one of the region’s top-drawing Indian-style eateries. And that says a lot, especially when you consider the many fine options along the Route 30 corridor for devotees of this kind of cuisine, including a strong contingent of folks like Ravindran and Vijay, who hail from the Asian subcontinent.

The Lal Mirch Paneer Kebab—fresh cottage cheese
marinated in chili powder, turmeric, yogurt and spices.

Corn and curry leaf soup. 

Bangles’ earnest, friendly staff is quite adept at guiding diners to the right options and corresponding heat levels, whether it’s the pungent, cream-sauce dishes representative of northern India or the spicier, vegetable-based selections from its southern tier. I highly recommend the corn and ground curry leaf soup—a sweet, fennel-dusted starter. The hearty shahi mutter paneer melds India’s traditional cheese with minced onions, tomatoes and peas, rolling them into balls with an almost matzo-like consistency, which are served in a pool of gingery garlic gravy.

Lamb pepper fry with paratha bread.

Nearly everything at Bangles is a winner—and a good value—from the donut-shaped vada sambar (lentil dumplings), served with a cup of lip-tingling lentil soup and a side of chutney for dipping, to a marinated tandoor dish like the nutty chicken tikka or cumin-rubbed lamb skewers. Traditional entrees include the slow-cooked, turmeric-tinged saag chicken in a vivid spinach cream sauce. For the more adventurous, the gamey goat sukha is slow-cooked in exotic spices. And unlike several other nearby restaurateurs who treat dessert as an afterthought, Bangles dedicates ample attention to standouts like their scrumptious coconut-and-fennel custard.

Chicken Lollipop—wings marinated in coriander,
chili powder, ginger and garlic.

The lamb pepper fry’s cubes of tender meat are
slow-cooked with onions,
tomatoes, pepper, ginger
and garlic. 

It’s the batter-based items, however, that really set Bangles apart. The naan bread, nicely heat-blistered along the edges, is irresistible. Ditto the samosas, puri bread, uttapam (rice-and-lentil pancake) and dosa crepes with red chili pepper, curry leaves or flecks of coconut.

To think it took just one crummy meal to produce so many exceptional future ones.

889 East Lancaster Ave. (Ashbridge Square), Downingtown, (610) 269-9600, www.banglesindiancuisine.com.

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