Bombay Brasserie: Still good after 25 years

Last Saturday I had the chips stacked against me; dinner at an old favourite with two guests who spoke no English, had never eaten Indian food and me with a serious cold.  You know the score, coughing like a tramp and taste buds that could only detect wet or dry.  But I was in for a treat.

Bombay Brasserie is a London landmark that introduced this part of SW7 to the greatness of regional Indian cuisine.  The Goan fish curry and Rajistani lamb were always popular as was the thali served on a vast silver platter.  But times have changed and the BB has decided to have a face lift and move the menu on.  Both with varying degrees of success.

The old brasserie was very Raj. Framed prints from the 1880s’s, tented banquettes and wine glasses that could take a whole bottle.  They decided to modernise the old place and while the conservatory remains, the main dining room is a bit of a let down.  There is a 70’s disco chandelier and a neon wall hanging that looks part mad Hindu temple and part bad New York diner. The takeout is that of having dinner in fairly naff hotel.  Which indeed it is.  Now I appreciate that things must move on but the interior designer ran out of either budget or imagination.

Thankfully the food has just got better.  The presentation is a mad mixture of nouvelle cuisine meets Indian take away. Think tiny blobs of curry on a plate that looks like an iMac screen. Ignore that some the sauces (yoghurt and tamarind) make multiple appearances in the menu but the net effect is glorious, varied and interesting food. Apricot and potato cakes with yoghurt and tamarind, lamb kebabs for nobles who prefer not to chew (I kid you not), saffron lamb shanks, okra with sesame seed all were outstanding.

Go but eat in the conservatory.

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