Bombay Bustle: Review
The first thing that strikes you about Bombay Bustle is just how beautiful it is. Every Art Deco lampshade, every shining aluminium bar surface, every chrome-plated curve is a treat for the senses; intimately lit and thoughtfully laid out, it’s a delight to be in and move through.
And it’s often the case that where a restaurateur is willing to put the time and energy (and, let’s face it, money) into making a place look this good, there’s every chance such enthusiasm will feed through to other aspects of the enterprise, too. And so it is here, where they offer a menu so comprehensively attractive; dishes a giddy mix of familiar names and enticing new discoveries, that choosing just a few to try of an evening becomes a genuine dilemma.
But we’re nothing if not determined, here at Just Opened, so although what you’re about to read about constitutes barely a quarter of the full capabilities of the Bombay Bustle kitchen, we hope it’s enough to persuade that this dynamic new Mayfair restaurant (completely unrecognisable from its earlier incarnation as Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus) is, following its sister Jamavar, another giant leap forward for Indian fine dining in the capital, and you’d have to be entirely devoid of joy and taste not to be utterly smitten with it.
OK, so, enough puffery. Details. The menu, as we’ve mentioned, is large, and divided into sections such as ‘small plates’, ‘tandoor’ and ‘curries.’ You’ll want to eat everything (we know, this doesn’t help) but can vouch for the Adipoli Prawns, plump and fresh under their garlic and turmeric dressing. And we were particularly taken by Amritsari Fish, little goujons of beer-battered sea bass with masala green peas and chutney. Normally we’d run a mile from ironic ‘takes’ on fish and chips, but this was not only a very clever little culinary joke but tasted fantastic.
Malabar Chicken Wings had a nice greaseless crunch and came doused in an interesting ginger and curry sauce, topped with shaved coconut in tribute to the tropical southern Indian region. And what on earth could be better than scrambled eggs and truffle on toast? Well, how about scrambled eggs and truffle on naan, fresh and chewy from the tandoor, topped with fresh herbs?
Two dishes made the most of Bombay Bustle’s brilliance with keema. Rarah Keema Pao (top photo) involved the piling of intensely rich goat mincemeat into soft fresh white buns, to extraordinarily addictive effect. And a trio of dosa stuffed with duck mince was similarly successful, perched vertically on a toast-rack.
It may save time to mention only the dishes that weren’t a complete knockout. Kolhapuri Spit Chicken (we hope that refers to the cooking method, not some gobby marinade) boasted an intriguing spice mix but sadly was overcooked in parts. Still enjoyable, just not perfect. And perhaps it’s not too much of a criticism to say that their Dabba Dal, thinned with butter, suffers in comparison to the world-class version served at Jamavar. It was still very, very good by anyone else’s standards.
Overall, though, Bombay Bustle is a joy. Packed on a Thursday night even in its first fortnight open, that Londoners have already so comprehensively fallen for its charms is testament to the talent and dedication not just of owner Samyukya Nair and head chef Rohit Ghai but their entire phalanx of front and back of house staff who have not so much hit the ground running as already finished the race and topped the podium. One of the most sophisticated and successful new openings of the year, it deserves to be on everybody’s restaurant wish-list. We certainly won’t wait too long to return.
JOL was invited to review Bombay Bustle on a complimentary basis. We retain full editorial control.