A Bombay Birthday

Bombay Brasserie
2989/B, 12th Main Road,
HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar

19th February, 2017

Someone to care for; to be there for. Who else, but for family! Someone to do for; muddle through for. Whose else, but for family! Someone to share joy or despair with, whichever betides. Life becomes a chore; unless you’re living for…Family! Someone to tend to; be a friend to. Who else, but for Family! Someone to strive for; do or die for. Who else, but for Family!

Family indeed!

Have you heard of the Potts family? You have?! I’m impressed! Your parents, like mine, have done a great job in teaching you the classics (and I don’t mean Shakespeare!). The Potts are, like you correctly guessed, from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – the same movie from where I lifted the lyrics. Hope that’s convincing enough for you

Speaking of classics, there’s nothing more classic than lunch with the family at Bombay Brasserie, dining on authentic Bombay (yes, I’m still not used to Mumbai!) cuisine. And like most classics, this story is divided into different chapters.



Every good story begins with a prologue. A ‘prologue’ here means a series of events that takes place over a period of time, establishes context, provides background details, and often ties to the events that occur during the main story. For instance, if I were to divulge the origin of the prophecy that foretold about a young boy who would bring balance to ‘The Force’, I would be providing context and background details that would perfectly tie-in with the main arc of a globally renowned space opera. The story of my lunch at Bombay Brasserie has one such prologue. It is, thus my duty (and privilege) to narrate these events to you, my readers, in a way that is understandable, clear, concise, and articulate.

The story begins on a bright, spring morning. The sun out, the sky a turquoise blue, and not a cloud in sight. The visuals I have just described to you ought to give you a sense of optimism, a sense of delight, a sense of ‘nothing can go wrong’ right? Well that’s where you’re wrong. For on this beautiful day, mother and son found themselves in quite the dilemma.

‘This is quite the dilemma.’ A week to my sister’s birthday. And not just any birthday. Her 18th birthday! Time to get her married, am I right? Jokes apart, a special birthday required a special celebration. A ‘celebration’ here means a gathering of friends and family to rejoice and enjoy a special occasion. It had to be something we had never done before. So what could it be? Dinner with friends and family? Already done that. Movies with friends? So 2005! After hours of deliberating, a word which means to consider for a very long time, we finally decided we would go big.

‘Go big’ is usually a term….well you know what it means. On her birthday, we would dine at a luxurious Italian restaurant. The day after, she would have a luncheon, secretly planned by me, with her college friends. And the day day after, well we knew we wanted to have a large gathering somewhere. It was just a matter of where!

The ‘where’ came two days later. I was sitting down at my study when my father entered the room and asked me to check out a restaurant online. The restaurant – Bombay Brasserie. I was familiar with the name; it was recommended to me by a close family friend nearly a month ago. There were many things that seemed right about the place. The restaurant served Indian food, a cuisine appreciated and loved by all in our family. The restaurant was located in the heart of the city, perfect for everyone attending. The restaurant was located on the ground floor and barely had any steps, convenient given the number of elderly members in our family. 

It was now a matter of ‘how many’. The decision didn’t take too long. The lunch was only meant for family. A grand total of seventeen. Yikes!

Given the vast number of people attending, we thought it best to make early reservations. Good idea no? Except they stated that they don’t take reservations! Although they did suggest we arrive as early as noon to save seats at the restaurant. A suggestion we would be grateful for later.


Located in the heart of Indiranagar, Bombay Brasserie has the misfortune of sharing its locality with other well-known restaurants – Monkey Bar, Fatty Bao, Chianti, Dhaba by Claridges, and even Nandos! Credit is due, however, when it is due. The word ‘credit’ here does not pertain to the financial word ‘credit’, which is the ability of a customer to buy a good with the promise of payment in the future. Instead the word ‘credit’ here refers to a public acknowledgment. To open a restaurant with such a high level of competition present, is taking a huge risk. So to find the restaurant filled to the brim during lunch hours is a testament to the restaurant’s capabilities.

It was, however, not the sight of fully booked restaurant that greeted us when we arrived. On the contrary, when we arrived at the restaurant, at little over quarter past noon, we found the restaurant to be empty, save for the cleaners hosing the floor, probably getting ready for the opening. With slight trepidation, we entered the restaurant, expecting to be told that the restaurant had not yet opened. Instead, we were greeted by the receptionist (with a smile!). I approached the receptionist and enquired if they had a table for seventeen. She looked at me with saddened eyes and I knew what was coming next. It was shocking too, given that we were the first ones in the restaurant. Perhaps sensing my disappointment, she went back into the restaurant and called the manager. The manager asked what the problem was and I, once again, enquired if they had a table for seventeen. To my surprise, the manager said that it would be possible. As if on cue, the receptionist began laughing. Turns out, she thought we were a party of 70!! Who did she think we were? The Kardashians?!

We made our way inside, and I could see why the receptionist was skeptical of having room for 70 people. The restaurant was not exactly what you would call spacious, though it had room enough for 70, push comes to shove. The interiors were quite unique, from a half-kayak standing by the door and the open-bar to the boxed-in light above and posters of food hanging on the walls. Walking to our table, looking around at the interiors, I suddenly felt that I had been transported to a sea-side shack in a Goan village.

It took another half hour for the cavalry to arrive. As we gathered by the table, all the herbivores huddled towards one side of the table, while the carnivores (the few that we were) huddled at the other end of the table. It was now time to place the order.


A little advice to people planning lunches/dinners wherein the number of attendees reaches near double figures or more, it would be prudent to let the waiters decide the order and quantity, given their knowledge of the portion size and the different tastes and preferences of the people attending. A Bombay-named restaurant deserves a truly Bollywood-named waiter, and that’s what we got with Sharafat. Sharafat did not only take our order, as most waiters do, but he also had the dubious distinction of placing the order on our behalf.

If I were to list the order we had placed, getting to the end of this article would not be possible. After all, there were indeed seventeen of us. Hence, I think it best if I tell you that our drinks varied from soft/hard liquor (beer, red wine, beefeaters) and cocktails (margarita, caipiroska) to mocktails (Old Town Delhi, Bombaelli Pina Colada) and Fresh lime sweet (water).  The Bombaelli Pina Colada and Old Town Delhi were certainly the most interesting drinks on the table. If there was ever a more distinct contrast, it would have to be the way in which they were presented. The Colada was served in a brand new, shiny brown pot (or matka!), while the Old Town was served in what could have been a medicine bottle from the 1980s. No wonder it was called Old! While they differed in appearances, both mocktails were a delightful treat. The coconut cream might have been slightly over-powering in the Colada, but it was delicious enough to order a second round. The chaat masala was perfectly added in the pineapple soda and gave a little kick in the mouth, especially as the drink travelled down your throat.

 ( From left to right ): Marathi Jhinga Mirch; 6-Chutney Papad Tokri; Rajputna Murgh Soola Kebab; Bombaelli Pina Colada; Old Town Delhi; Chili Cheese Kulcha; Naga Ghost Pepper Wings; Aam Papad Paneer
(From left to right): Marathi Jhinga Mirch; 6-Chutney Papad Tokri; Rajputna Murgh Soola Kebab; Bombaelli Pina Colada; Old Town Delhi; Chili Cheese Kulcha; Naga Ghost Pepper Wings; Aam Papad Paneer

If the drinks were plentiful, so were our starters. The first dish to arrive was the 6-Chutney Papad Tokri. The best part of about having six different chutneys is the wonderful spectrum of colours that it creates, aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. The tokri, which here refers to a bowl, was formed by the North Indian papad. Inside the tokri were small bits of other papads (tapioca, sabudana). Overall, the papads were crispy, an indication that they were heated at the right temperature, and the portion was enough to satisfy our hunger….until the next starter came.

The next dishes to arrive were the Chilli Cheese Kulchas, the Marathi Jhinga Mirch, and the Rajputna Murgh Soola Kebab. Given that there were 12 herbivores dining at the table, and only 12 Chilli Cheese Kulchas on offer, there was no way I was going to get a bite. Hence, I shall reserve my comments on the dish. However, given the ‘mmmms’ and ‘wows’ emanating out of the vegetarian section of the table, it would be safe to say that they were, in fact, delicious.

I come now to the starters lying in front of us – the Marathi Jhinga Mirch (Prawns), and the Rajputna Murgh Soola Kebab (Chicken).

The Marathi Jhinga Mirch was presented in a shiny black bowl and placed on banana leaf. The prawns were cooked in a chilli paste, and topped with a garnish of crushed garlic, peanuts, and coriander. The smell of it seemed great, like it had just been plucked out of the sea, and placed into the bowl. With respect to taste, you could definitely taste the ingredients that had been used to make the crushed chutney. The dish was not extremely spicy, which was slightly disappointing given that one of the ingredients in the dish was chilli, but in hindsight it was perhaps a good thing given how spicy the other starters were. If there was one ingredient that I wish could have been added into the dish it would have to be an acidic agent – perhaps lime juice or even lime zest – to give it a little kick that it deserved. The Chicken Kebabs were presented on grills and it was so tantalizingly tempting to see the juice and spice drip from the gaps in the grills onto the plate. Like most Indian restaurants, it’s not kebabs unless there is a small cup of green chutney and a side portion of freshly cut onion rings. No sooner had my knife sliced through the chicken meat than the chicken fell apart. A good sign! The chicken was soft, cooked to perfection, and was most importantly rich in spice. Two bites in, and I was reaching for my beer glass. Turns out it wasn’t the best of ideas to mix soda and spice (no powerpuff girls!).

Still hungry after Round 1 of starters, we decided to go for Round 2. This time, however, we limited it to one dish each. For the vegetarians, we ordered the Aam Papad Paneer. I have never been a fan of ‘paneer’ that is made in South India, for they are unusually hard, even for cheese. So it was with skepticism that I ordered the dish, expecting more of the same. What we got, however, was completely contrary to my beliefs. The ‘paneer’ was extremely soft and the mango chutney that the ‘paneer’ was doused in added a different flavour to the dish, without being too overpowering. For the non-vegetarians, we ordered (or rather Sharafat did) the Naga Ghost Pepper Wings. I was too engrossed in my food to hear the words “Ghost Pepper”, but upon hearing “wings”, I decided to go ahead with the order. It was an unusual dish to have on the menu, for chicken wings are more American than Indian. In this day and age of ‘building-walls’, ‘immigration bans’, and ‘nationalism’, it was refreshing to see this marination and blend of cuisines. I had never had ‘Ghost Peppers’ before, and to people in the same boat, I would advise you to keep tissues in handy (preferably a whole tissue box). The wings arrived inside a colourful bamboo steamer, and for a moment I expected an Asian/Oriental twist to the dish. Instead, the first bite of the wings was met with steam blowing out of my ears. If there was any a perfect cure for the sinuses, this would be it. The Ghost Pepper (or Bhut Jolokia), how ever little they put, might be too hot to handle for some, but it was just enough for me to taste the chicken, which was as soft and succulent as the kebabs.


 ( From left to right ): The Bombay Lunch; Lohe Ki Kadha Ke Aloo; Dum Ke Kali Daal; Saali Chicken; Chur Chur Paratha; Rajasthani Dungar Maas; Butter Naan 
(From left to right): The Bombay Lunch; Lohe Ki Kadha Ke Aloo; Dum Ke Kali Daal; Saali Chicken; Chur Chur Paratha; Rajasthani Dungar Maas; Butter Naan

Gorged after two very heavy rounds of starters, it was a unanimous decision across the table to go light with the mains. Of course, going light with seventeen people at the table would still mean ordering at least two portions of a dish….which we did. This time, however, the onus on placing the order was not on Sharafat. While the carnivores at the end of the table were still gnawing on meat stuck on bones, the vegetarians, all done with their starters, placed their order. Three portions of the ‘Dum Ke Kali Dal’, three portions of the ‘Jaipur Kofta’, and two portions of the ‘Lohe Ki Kadha Ke Aloo’. My uncle, however, was the only one who had his priorities right, and ordered for himself a ‘Bombay Lunch’. Talk about going light eh? Of the mains that arrived at the table, none looked as intriguing as the Bombay Lunch. The home-made vegetarian curry (a description that was much closer to home here than in any other restaurant) was presented in a medium-sized glass jar, while the rice (millet rice too!) was packed and parcelled in a beautiful faced banana leaf. The end.

Surprised? I should hope so. There’s something fascinating about an abrupt ending. The build-up, the anticipation with every word and to take it all away with just two words. It truly is the cruelest of artistic devices.

The vegetarians were half-way through their mains, when it was time to place the order for us, the non-vegetarians. In going with the light theme, we ordered for one portion of the Salli Chicken, one portion of the Rajasthani Dungar Maas, and a couple of Roomali Rotis and Chur Chur Parathas. It was the last dish that really got me curious. What is Chur Chur? Was it just an inventive name for a normal paratha? Was Chur Chur an ingredient? It was time to stop thinking for the dishes had already arrived. Turns out Chur Chur Parathas are nothing but crispy, flaky parathas topped with a dash of crushed mirchi (spice) powder. Since I had ordered the roomali roti myself, I cannot describe what the Chur Chur tasted like.

It was probably the fault in my ordering that led us to two dishes with the same colour sauce. That’s, however, not to take away from how delicious the dishes were. The Salli chicken – a popular Parsi dish of chicken cooked in a marination of turmeric and curd topped with julienned, crispy strips of potato – is the perfect dish to order if you want to experience truly authentic Bombay cuisine. And it didn’t fail to deliver. The chicken pieces were well marinated in the sauce and had the right amount of tanginess, in addition to being well cooked and extremely soft. The Rajasthani Dungar Maas was equally delicious. The mutton melted in my mouth the moment it touched my tongue, and the dish had the right amount of spice. The only fault in both the dishes has to be the disproportional ratio of gravy to actual meat pieces. If I had to guess it would be 70:30 to the sauce. So you can imagine, that once all the pieces were shared amongst the five of us, there was nothing but gravy (and a good amount too!) to dip into with if you wanted to finish off the rotis.


 ( From left to right ): Amritsari Kulfa; Anglo-Indian Bread Pudding; Mintu's Chocolate Surprise; Ras-E-Aam; Mango Bites
(From left to right): Amritsari Kulfa; Anglo-Indian Bread Pudding; Mintu’s Chocolate Surprise; Ras-E-Aam; Mango Bites

I arrive now at the most important part of any meal – Desserts. The word ‘dessert’ refers to a course that succeeds the main meal. It is usually of the sweet and sugary kind and is often mistaken and no way related to ‘desert’, a barren piece of land often found in tropical regions and is regarded to be too hostile for plant, animal, and human life. To say that we have arrived at desserts is to indicate that we have indeed reached closer to the end of the review.

You must be wondering after such a heavy main course, and even heavier starter course, how could we order desserts? That’s the brilliance of this course. It’s defined by three simple words (no…not vini, vidi, vici!) – There’s Always Room! No matter how full you are.

Since the vegetarians were done with their main course first, it was only natural that they had first shot at ordering desserts. The dessert menu had only the five dishes. Bar one (the Bombay Ice Cream Sandwich), the rest of the items found their way on to our tables. I start with the first dessert to arrive – the Ras-E-Aam – the unique blend of East and West India as Calcutta’s own Rasgulla (sweet dumplings) meets South India’s pride Mangoes. The dish was almost the perfect dessert. It was not overly sweet despite the pool of rabdi with shavings of pistachio and the ripe mango sauce that covered the rasgullas. The fault, however, was the rasgulla. They seemed to have been taken out of the sweet syrup and dried outside for a long enough period for the syrup to drain out of the rasgullas, thus being slightly on the drier side.

The next dish to arrive was Mintu’s Chocolate Surprise. Now I don’t know who Mintu is, and what was so surprising about her chocolate, but it tasted quite good. The sugary paratha, filled with an abundance of chocolate, and topped with a chocolate drizzle was enough to make even the staunchest of chocolate lovers fall to their feet or go to the nearest hospital for a sugar level check. The Anglo-Indian Bread Pudding was another favourite of mine. The presentation of the baked bread in a bowl and custard in a glass beaker was a delight, and in taste it did not disappoint. The bread was soft and the custard was not overpoweringly sweet.

The last dish to arrive was the Amritsari Kulfa. The vegetarians had actually ordered the Kulfas initially, but they were told that it was not available. So imagine our surprise when we, the non-vegetarians, were about to place our dessert order and were told that the Kulfa was indeed available. Guess the tortoise always wins huh? The Kulfa, like the Ras-E-Aam arrived amidst a cloud of dry ice smoke. Kulfis are usually quite sweet, and topped with falooda, I expected it to be a dessert lover’s delight. Instead the kulfi was quite hard and not too sweet. Which was good, given that we had already gone through three other desserts (not to mention the portion numbers!).


Two rounds of starters, one round of main course, and one round of desserts. It was enough to make even the hungriest of men (or women) feel full to their bones. It was probably the reason why we hung around in the restaurant for another half hour before asking for the check. When it did, it arrived inside a bright blue box. What was also in the box (What’s in the box!), was also something that took me back to my schooling days. It was, in fact, a handful of Mango Bites – tiny, bite-sized mango flavoured candy. It was all the rave when I was in school. We used to ask anyone who came from India to get us a box of Mango Bites. It was as if I had opened the holy grail.

We paid the bill and, as slow as we could, made our way to the exit. As we exited the restaurant, we parted ways. Some of us went home, some of went shopping, and a few of us (me including) went next door to ‘The Monkey Bar’ for a drink. But as I sat at the table at ‘The Monkey Bar’, I could not forget the meal that I had just had at the Bombay Brasserie. A part of me even wanted to go back inside for another bite of those fiery chicken wings.

On a side note, it isn’t always easy to serve a part of seventeen, no matter how experienced you might be. Orders might be misplaced, forgotten, or even the wrong dish might be brought to the table. However, kudos, a word that means appreciation and praise for a special achievement, goes to Sharafat, our waiter with an unforgettable name, who did his utmost best to make sure we had a splendid outing and a birthday lunch to remember. I look forward to my next visit to Bombay Brasserie and, as my sister keeps pointing out on a weekly basis, another chance to order that delicious Bombaelli Pina Colada.


Bombay Brasserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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