We review Bombay Bustle.
Recently home from the trip of a lifetime to India, I am struggling – even more than usual – to soldier through the dark days of winter. The colours, smells and tastes, and the feeling of the warm sun on my skin are all so torturously clear in my mind… What I need, I reason, is a reminder of those happy days.
Indian comfort food
It comes in the form of Bombay Bustle, on the site of Hibiscus on Maddox Street. Still revelling in the glory of a Michelin star for Jamavar, Samyukta Nair and Rohit Ghai have just opened their second London restaurant, with a menu inspired by the great cultural melting pot of Mumbai. It is a celebration of home-style Indian comfort food, including many of chef Rohit’s own mother’s recipes. Perfect for my current mood.
Stepping through the door, I truly feel like I have been transported to another land. Designed to feel like a train on Mumbai’s suburban network, the restaurant is all green leather seating, melamine tables, cosy carriage-style booths and luggage rack coat hooks, all so beautifully designed by Fabled Studio that it is not even a tiny bit twee.
We start with a trio of dishes from the small plates selection. Spicy scrambled egg served on truffled naan is a pleasant surprise, while the Adipoli prawns are garlicky and gloriously plump and juicy, but the perfect dosas filled with delicately spiced duck and accompanied by creamy coconut chutney are a clear winner for us. Though there is plenty more to tempt us here – enough to enjoy a whole meal of tapas-style shared dishes, in fact – we are keen to sample the mains, too, and opt for a lamb biryani and paneer butter masala with a side of daba dahl. And we regret nothing. With spice levels perfectly pitched, everything tastes authentic and delicious.
We’ve precious little room for pud, but the knowledge that, downstairs, the restaurant boasts its own dessert bar, makes it hard for us to resist. And the chocolate samosas, washed down with a glass of warm chai, are definitely worthy of those extra calories. As indeed is everything we have tucked in to. It may not be India, but it’s as close as we’ll get without the flight.
29 Maddox Street, W1S (020 7290 4470; bombaybustle.com)