Restaurateurs in London would do well to pay Bombay Brasserie a visit and get a masterclass in restaurant longevity. They have been established since 1982 and a recent visit confirmed they are still one of the leading lights of the London culinary scene. In fact if you did not know of their illustrious history, you would probably guess it might be a new opening in fashionable Kensington.
In the era of casual dining and restaurants looking like your living room, it’s reassuring to see such a beautifully elegant dining room and an owner who understands dining out should be a memorable experience. From the moment you step inside the reception area and the Bombay bar, you are immediately transported back to the era of the British raj. Fascinating photos from that era adorn the walls, plantation shutters and shiny brass lamps add to the colonial feel. As the main restaurant area is revealed, you can’t help but gasp in awe at how spectacular it looks with its high ceilings, grand chandeliers and comfortable, plush seating.
Thankfully the food matched up to the majestic settings. They have quite a lengthy selection of enticing dishes, so much so that it would be quite the apathetic customer to resort to ordering a default chicken curry dish. Not being a vegetarian myself, I was gently persuaded by the waiter to order the palak patta chaat. Crispy fried spinach topped up with yoghurt, date and tamarind chutney was an explosion of colours, textures and vivid tastes. Anyone calling vegetarian dishes mundane simply haven’t tried this dish.
With so many delectable dishes on the menu, their platter options are a great way of trying out a selection. Their seafood option had great choices including soft shell crab, monkfish, prawns and scallops. The portion might look small initially but is actually quite substantial and there are no weak links amongst any of the alternatives. The seafood is gently marinated without the spices being too overpowering. My favourite would be the grilled scallops with pestle pounded coarse spices, it was like a delicate and soft marshmallow with added substance and spices.
Apart from the usual mango option, they do have a fine selection of desserts. I had opted for the berry parfait, seeing as the yoghurt combined with orange rind might make for a lighter option.
Their cocktail list have included charming nods to the cuisine such as the Bombay Breeze which contained fresh tamarind, gin, sweet and sour mix. Whilst their wine list is as extensive as you will find in any London restaurant, with a reserve list in case a bottle of Chateau Petrus might take your fancy.
Service at Bombay Brasserie runs so smoothly, it is almost ethereal. They will gracefully glide into view when you need assistance and understand when you need a private moment to appreciate the fine food.
Surprisingly, they have taken their menu prices offline; for the sheer quality of the food, the attentive service and wonderful ambience, Bombay Brasserie is a fantastic option in terms of offering value for money. Make sure you pay a visit soon to this fine Indian institution.