By Gavin Gibbon
Indian bar and eatery brings together a carefully curated selection of India's unique ingredients, spices, and flavours - reinvented, from across the length and breadth of the country.
I’ve been to way too many Indian restaurants where the setting is like something out of a Bollywood film – all dramatic décor and traditional music, desperately clinging to its claim of authenticity, only for the food to arrive and be, well, disappointing.
Bombay Borough is far removed from this. There are no bells and whistles at its DIFC venue, which originally opened in January and has only recently reopened after the Covid-19 enforced closure. Its funky art-deco design and upbeat, lively, music, creates the perfect fusion of east meets west.
But the restaurant simply lets its food do the talking.
Gogi Shainidze, restaurant floor manager, told Arabian Business: “Our customers can expect great food, a great ambiance and amazing service. Our staff are happy, they love what they do. We have a great team.”
You can bet everyone in his position promises the same. The difference is, Gogi practises what he preaches.
The smells of Indian herbs and spices provide a warm welcome, penetrating the obligatory face mask as we enter the restaurant.
From there, our waiter, Patrick, takes us on a culinary journey across India, starting with two mocktails; Ooty Sunset, from the city of Ooty, and a Pink City, which has its roots in Jaipur, we’re told.
All too often I tend to err on the side of caution and ‘go with what I know’ when it comes to Indian food – popadums and pickles, South Indian Garlic Chilli Chicken with a naan bread and pilau rice; the old faithful, rarely lets you down.
However, this time I left it in the hands of Patrick.
For starters he served up the restaurant’s most popular dish, the chilli cheese kulcha – the restaurant’s take on a Bombay toastie, filled with liquid cheese with a strong hit of heat from the green chilli pieces in the mix; Rajputana murg sooha, the coarsely ground spices provide excellent flavour to the succulent pieces of chicken; and Banana-leaf wrapped seabass, in a Kerala spiced tomato chilli coconut sauce with pounded fennel seeds and curry leaf.
Onto the main courses and we enjoyed Bombay Dabba Gosht, lamb marinated in yogurt, brown onions and green cardamom, baked Bombay ‘bohri’ style and topped with a fried egg and complemented superbly with the addition of a crisp chur chur paratha.
There was also Chicken Tikka Butter Masala, marinated, spiced, charcoal roasted succulent chicken chunks, in a rich Punjabi ‘makhani’ sauce, which was creamy without being overly rich.
It wasn’t too heavy and meant there was still plenty room for the dessert.
Again, on the recommendation of our knowledgeable waiter, we opted for the Ras-E-Aam, Bengali ‘rasgulla' nestled in rich ‘rabdi’ topped with Gujarati ‘aamras’ made with alphonso mangoes.
For those still slightly nervous about venturing out during the current pandemic, Bombay Borough, which employs strict health and safety measures in the restaurant, also offers a delivery option.
The restaurant is brought to Dubai by Charcoal Concepts, a platform for specialist Indian food and beverage concepts, founded by K Hospitality Corp, one of India's largest hospitality and food service companies, with over 45 years of experience in the restaurant industry.
Vivek Raghunath, business head of international operations at Charcoal Concepts, told Arabian Business: “At Bombay Borough, we boost our flavours as we bring together ingredients that aren't readily available globally; our menu sources 'Bhoot Jolokia' from the North East, 'Aam Papad' from Amritsar in the North West, pink salt from the Himalayas in the North, and some unique Podi Masalas from the South, to name a few from our extensive list of Indian ingredients.”