My itch for fine-dining Indian restaurants never seems to end. When I heard that the Michelin star-awarded Indian restaurant, Jamavar, is opening a sister restaurant called Bombay Bustle, I immediately made plans with my friends to check it out. At the time, we hadn’t been to Jamavar to make any direct comparisons. But with Jamavar’s great reputation in the London restaurant scene (plus a Michelin star!), naturally, we had high expectations for Bombay Bustle London as well.
Bombay Bustle: London Indian Fine-Dining on a Luxury Train Carriage
Located in Mayfair, just tucked away at Maddox Street, the restaurant has a relatively humble exterior compared to others. But once you step through the doors, it reveals a gorgeous tiffin tin carrier-inspired interior. Walking in, it’s almost like you have stepped into a dimly lit luxury train and are hopping from one carriage to the next.
The restaurant started with the Bar carriage (i.e. where the bar is) and then moves onto the Carriage section with booth tables lined on each side of the room and resembling the feel of train booths. Next is the Dining Room carriage, when the decor switches up a notch with a more elegant feel. We got seated in the downstairs area, which is past all these “carriages” and has a more private & intimate dining setting compared to upstairs.
The Food: What We Ordered
Bombay Bustle’s menu takes inspiration from Mumbai’s signature dishes and flavours. Chicken, beef, lamb & goat are halal. Alcohol is served at the restaurant.
Date of visit: January 2018
Mango & Pistachio Lassi (£4.5)
Starting with drinks, my friends had the mango lassi, which has various flavour combos to choose from. Options include Apple & Cinnamon, Cumin Coriander & Chilli, and Mango & Pistachio. My friends love anything pistachio-flavoured so it’s a no-brainer that they went for the latter.
Whilst it’s still overall a refreshing drink, the Mango & Pistachio lassi also came with a not-so-pleasant overwhelming almond aftertaste. Either that mango isn’t in season at the time of our visit or the almond aftertaste was too overpowering, or a combination of both, the mango element failed to stand out.
Bombay Cutting Chai (£3.5)
As for me, it was a cold miserable rainy day in London and I couldn’t wait to have a warm drink in my hand. I ordered the Bombay Cutting Chai, which means masala chai served in a traditional cutting chai glass (translating as half a cup of tea in Mumbai). While yes it was warming, I found the chai underwhelming to taste. I was expecting it to have punchier spices but it turned out rather mild. It tasted a little watered down and lacked that punchy & full-bodied richness I was expecting.
Mirchi & Pyaz Bhajia (£5)
To kick start the meal, we started with some bhaji. The dish includes Green Chillies and Red Onion Fritter, made into small bite-size and fried to a gorgeous golden hue. The coating was beautifully crispy and each bhaji was truly a great nibble. We enjoyed the onion bhaji the most, which carried a good kick of spice to it. As for the green chillies, it wasn’t spicy but interestingly got more of a bitter taste.
Rarah Keema Pao (£8)
I don’t know what’s about it but I always find having Indian paos an absolute delight! For this keema pao, we were served with a spiced goat mince paired with buttery buns and some chopped red onions for garnish. The mince was cooked to a very fine texture and featured deep savoury flavours. When scooped onto the buttered buns, it was simply a luscious sensation and packed with umami. It is unanimous that we absolutely adored this dish. We even think it’s up to par with Gymkhana’s signature Kid Goat Keema Pao as well!
Kolhapuri Spit Chicken (£18)
Moving on to mains, we picked out the roast whole chicken from the tandoor menu section. The chicken was well-marinated and featured a subtle touch of spice and a lemony tangy touch of flavour. Those flavours played very nicely on the palate though we hoped for a stronger punch and oomph. The skin was roasted to perfection – lightly crispy on the outside and enveloping the succulent meats. Even the breast area was reasonably moist and tender as well. Overall, it was a decently satisfying and delightful dish.
If you worry about getting messy cutting up a whole chicken, the waiter could do it for you on the table.
Seafood Tawa Pulao (£18)
After a long debate on whether to get a Biryani or Pulao, we finally settled on the Seafood Pulao which got a good mix of sea bass, scallops, prawns, and squid in it. This one’s my personal favourite at Bombay Bustle London. The seafood was delectably delicious and I was especially happy to see such fleshy scallops and ‘meaty’ chunks of sea bass in there. The pulao has got a good kick of spice as well and there’s a distinct tangy hit to the dish which really perked up every spice and flavour. It was simply flavoursome and palatable and I would highly recommend it!
Nalli Nihari (£16)
Last but not least, we got the Lamb Shank Nihari and also ordered some plain naan (£2) to go with it. The nihari was fairly decent. I was waiting for the heat and spice to hit but they didn’t really come through. For a nihari, it was tasty overall but lacked punch and depth, in my opinion. The meat on the lamb shank was very tender though and was falling easily off the bone. On a side note, the naan was extremely crispy on the outside and soft on the inside – we loved that.
Restaurant Review Summary
All in all, it had been an enjoyable meal at Bombay Bustle London. I liked the concept – both the food and the train carriage interiors – and enjoyed the lovely dining atmosphere as well. The food was decent, some more outstanding than others, but pleasant overall.
Chicken, Beef, Lamb & Goat are halal. Alcohol is served at the restaurant
Nearest station: Oxford Circus