by Kaye Holland
The Bombay Brasserie, in salubrious South Kensington, has remained a firm fixture on London’s fine dining scene since it first opened its doors back in 1982 and following a recent makeover, it’s easy to understand why: expect high ceilings, plush furnishings and stunning chandeliers in the opulent dining room and armchairs and walls adorned with pictures of the Raj in the adjoining bar cum conservatory. Yes, no effort has been spared to help transport diners – who include the A list likes of Messieurs Michael Caine and Winner, Woody Allen, Elizabeth Hurleyand Jerry Hall – to the land of the maharajas.
Once steered to your booth by the polished front of house team (for whom nothing is too much trouble), prepare to peruse the exhaustive menu (reflecting the cultural diversity of Bombay with influences from Parsi, Goan, Bengali, Gujarati as well as the Portuguese and Raj) while getting stuck into complimentary poppadoms and dips so delicious you won’t be able to resist hoovering them up, that arrive unexpectedly on top of your table.
Chef Prahlad Hegde’s menu reads brilliantly – so much so that you want to order it all. A starter of ambi jheenga (green mango flavoured king prawns, £9.50) gets the thumbs up. Full of flavour, it’s notably good and something you wouldn’t try at home but not for the faint hearted; the spicing goes through the roof. The bjhatti ka asparagus appetiser (char grilled spiced asparagus tips, £8.50) also impresses, although admittedly it is hard to muck up such a simple dish.
The Bombay Brasserie’s version of chicken tikka (£17.50) makes for a flavoursome main but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the array of options on offer, follow in Haute Living’s footsteps and order small portions of several dishes. Standouts include the lasooni palak (sautéed spinach with golden fried garlic), bhindi tilwali (okra with sesame seed) and dal makhani, pert black eyed peas smothered in cream and butter – comfort food heaven. Top marks too for the wonderfully fluffy and bountiful bowls of rice.
End with the moreish mango fig ice cream (£6.50) – addiction on a plate. Even those who exist solely on spirulina work themselves up into a Labrador like lather, when confronted with this heavenly dessert. Or close with a coffee or chai latte served in elegant crockery.
But the really impressive thing about The Bombay Brasserie is that even after all these years, the restaurant isn’t guilty of resting on its laurels: staff have a spring in their step and the gracious service harks back to a bygone era.
Ultimately The Bombay Brasserie sizzles with class and oozes sophistication. It’s stylish, reliable and while you will pay five star prices, you do get five star quality. For exceptional Indian food in an elegant setting, head here.
To make a reservation or for more information on Bombay Brasserie, visit www.bombaybrasserielondon.com
This blog was first posted on Haute Living on January 31