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 in London, I just have to make way to visit! Jamavar comes highly rated in the London restaurant scene so, naturally, Bombay Bustle comes with high expectations as well. So for a Saturday night girls catch up, we decided to check out the newly opened Bombay Bustle to see what it’s all about.
Bombay Bustle: Dining in a Luxury Train Carriage
Located in Mayfair, just tucked away at Maddox Street, the restaurant showcases a humble exterior but showcases a gorgeous tiffin tin carrier-inspired interior. Walking in, it’s almost like you have stepped into a dimly lit train and were hopping from one carriage to the next one.
The restaurant started with the Bar carriage, which has the bar and the cloakroom. Then it moves onto the Carriage section where there are table booths that resembles train booths. Next is the Dining Room carriage, when the decor turns a bit more elegant, with tables lined up neatly. The restaurant spans across two flavours and the downstairs area, i.e where we were seated, offers a more private and intimate dining setting.
The Food: What We Ordered
Chicken, beef, lamb & goat are halal at Bombay Bustle. Alcohol is served at the restaurant.
Mango & Pistachio Lassi (£4.5)
Only the drinks menu has been offered to us when we sat down and only after we ordered the drinks were we given the food menu.
First up, we had the lassis, which got multiple flavour combos to choose from. Options include Apple & Cinnamon, Cumin Coriander & Chilli, and Mango & Pistachio. My friend loves all things pistachio-flavoured and it’s a no brainer that she went for the Mango & Pistachio one.
You know how pistachio desserts and drinks can be like a gamble sometimes? By that I mean having real nutty pistachio flavour versus the almond powder taste. After her first sip, unfortunately, the face she pulled meant it was more the latter. The overwhelming almond paste put her off a bit and it didn’t help when the mango wasn’t particularly outstanding either.
Bombay Cutting Chai (£3.5)
As for me, it was a cold miserable rainy day in London so I couldn’t wait to have a warm drink in my hand. The chai was served in traditional cutting chai glasses (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 be punchier but it turned out really mild. To me, it lacked that punchy yet soothing effect of masala chai.
Mirchi & Pyaz Bhajia (£5)
To kick start the meal, we thought we would start with some bhaji. The dish includes Green Chillies and Red Onion Fritter, made to small bite-size and fried to a golden colour. The coating was fried to a beautiful crispy texture and it was a really great nibble. We enjoyed the onion one more, which carried a good kick of spice in 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 pao is always a delight! For this keema pao, we were served with a spiced goat mince paired with buttery buns and some chopped red onions on the side. The mince was cooked to a very fine texture and the flavours were really savoury and saucy. When scooped onto the buttered buns, it was simply a luscious sensation and umami. The chopped red onions on the side helped immensely to add texture to the mince. All in all, we all enjoyed this one a lot.
Kolhapuri Spit Chicken (£18)
From the Tandoor menu section, we managed to pick out this roast chicken as one of our main dishes. It’s not like you get to order a whole spit roasted chicken all the time at every restaurant so we’re for sure super anticipating for it.
There is always a ‘risk’ ordering whole chicken as it can easily get dry and tough. But Bombay Bustle has nailed it right. First of all, the skin was roasted to perfection. We loved the subtle touch of spice and a lemony tangy touch. The flavours played very nicely on your palate though we hoped for a stronger punch. The skin was lightly crispy and the meat was juicy – especially at the thigh & drumstick area. We were all very delighted to find the breast area reasonably moist and tender as well. It is, overall, a satisfying and delightful one.
If you fear of getting too messy, the waiter would kindly offer to cut up the chicken for you on the table.
Seafood Tawa Pulao (£18)
After a long debate on whether to get a Biryani or Pulao, we finally settled with the Seafood Pulao. In terms of what seafood is involved, it got a good mix of Sea Bass, Scallops, Prawns, and Squid.
This one’s my personal favourite at Bombay Bustle. The seafood was absolutely delicious and I was especially happy to see such fleshy scallops and ‘meaty’ sea bass in there. The pulao has got a good kick of spice in there – simply flavoursome and palatable. There’s also a distinct tangy hit to the dish which I really enjoyed.
Nalli Nihari (£16)
Last but not least, we got the Lamb Shank Curry. And of course we ordered some plain naan (£2) to go with it.
The curry was decent. I was waiting for the spices to hit, but it didn’t really come through. The lamb shank was very tender and tore easily off the bone. It’s overall a tasty dish but lacked punch and depth. 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. I liked the concept – both food and the train carriage interior – and enjoyed the lovely dining atmosphere as well. The food was decent, some more outstanding than others, but pleasant overall. Still, we feel it’s a bit pricey for what it is but ok for a one-off occasion.
Chicken, Beef, Lamb & Goat are halal. Alcohol is served at the restaurant
Nearest station: Oxford Circus