The Bengal Lounge
Here at Horsing Around, it is hard to pick favourites, but we have to make an exception for the Bengal Lounge, a full service restaurant and lounge located in the stately Empress Hotel. This is Monty’s favourite place to hang his, hat, er, we mean saddle! The Bengal has so much old world charm, you’ll be surprised fellow patrons aren’t sporting pith helmets and J. Peterman style safari jackets. Drink up now, old chaps! Drink up! Steady on my good fellows!Plush leather sofas and a tiger skin help to re-create the days of the British Raj (you have to see it to believe it). The Bengal Lounge harkens back to an era of relaxed opulence. Large windows offer a panoramic view of the adjoining gardens and the bustling inner harbor.
There is an a la carte menu at the Bengal Lounge, but the best deal by far is the curry buffet. $32 gives you the choice following items (FYI: the lamb curry and chai crème brulee are must try items!):
Starters: Indian Dal Shorba, Kachumbar Salad, Quinoa Salad, Chana Chat, Market Green Salad Bar, Mango Chutney, Mint Chutney, Cucumber Raita, Chopped Chillies
Main Courses: Bengal Butter Chicken, Coconut Curry Lamb, Tandoori Chicken, Daily Vegetarian Curry, Bengal Basmati Rice, Lentil Bonda, Naan Bread, Papadams
Desserts: Cardamom Infused Mini Apple Pie, Rice Pudding, Chai Crème Brûlée
Maybe you’ve already had dinner and you want to slake your thirst. Well, at the Bengal Lounge, you’ll be in the right place with their signature cocktail menu. Monty of course, is partial to the Clover Club, a refreshing blend of Tanqueray gin, raspberry purée, freshly squeezed lemon juice and frothy egg whites. His filly friends love the girly and refreshing Ginger Fresca, a unique blend of Hornitos silver tequila, grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, agave nectar, and ginger purée, (this cocktail pairs beautifully with the spicy curry). Don’t imbibe? Not to worry, the non-alchoholic drinks at Bengal are not merely an afterthought. Try the Mango Mango or Tiger Cub.
We have to be honest here, the Bengal Lounge is a splurge. Cocktails come at a premium. However given the quality of the product and exemplary service (Monty’s favourite server is Wade) we honestly think it is worth it. The majesty of the surroundings is truly unparalleled. This is iconic Victoria and one of those rare gems that is cherished equally by locals and visitors alike.
TIP FOR LOCALS – Get a Friend of the Empress Card!!!! With this card, designed to reward returning customers, you will receive 20% off drinks and eats at the Bengal Lounge! (providing you dine or drink between Sunday and Thursday). The card offers other deals as well including discounts at Willowstream Spa, hotel discounts, and more. Better yet. It is free!!! Monty never leaves home without it.
MONTY’S PICKS: Curry buffet, cheese plate, spinach and arugula salad, raspberry white chocolate verrine MONTY’S TIPPLE: Clover Club, classic gin martini, Empress Old Fashioned
Location: 721 Government Street, Victoria. View in Google Maps.
Click here to visit The Bengal Lounge’s web page