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Bombay Brasserie [London]

Quite a few Indian restaurants seem to be closed on Saturday lunchtime, but I remembered Howler has been recommending the Bombay Brasserie’s buffet lunch on the board for some time, so we thought we would give it a go.

I first ate here in the late ‘80’s and it was a glamorous venue for a long Sunday lunch. Today it has the same decor, and is in need of a bit of TLC. The welcome from the staff was good, which is often a positive, and it did indeed bode well for very professional, and attentive service. I don’t often say this but our every need as anticipated and we were looked after very well - there seemed to be a real pride in their food.

The buffet consists of a number of sections and I am sorry I can’t do justice to the correct names of the dishes . To start they had a split pea soup, potato pakora, spicy grilled chicken kebabs, papadums and good chutneys. The non-vegetarian mains included, a spicy fish in a rich tomtor sauce, creamy nutty chicken with istachios, a lamb saag. The vegetarian options included a paneer in a sweet creamy sauce, curried aubergines, deep fried potato balls, a complex dal, tomato rice, and plain rice. The salad table had a spicy chicken salad, carrot/vegtable salad, and a cucumber/lettuce salad. The desert choice was a creamed rice with nuts, fruit salad, and what seemed to be dried fine noodles with nuts and current. And throughout the meal really fresh nan breads are brought to your table.

Each dish was wonderfully different, with each having an individual flavour. They were well spiced, not overly hot, but with good depths of flavour. The staff keep all the dishes topped up with freshly cooked refills and you can go back as often as you like.

Most of the other diners were indian, with a few tables full of large extended families. We arrived at about 1:30 and te restaurant was quite emply but as we ate it filled up.

Overall an excellent meal, really great value at only £22 (plus 12.5% service) per head. Highly recommended for a really good buffet lunch - I needed to lie down afterwards I wasso full....!

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  1. I too followed Howler's advice a few weeks ago and took my family to the weekend buffet. In addition to the usual offerings my daughter ordered tandoori chicken. I'm no expert on the cuisine but it was the best Indian food I have had.

    1 Reply
    1. Excellent - I last did the buffet lunch in about 1986 when I was a PhD student. It was very good then. Are they still open Sunday lunchtime?

      3 Replies
        1. re: howler

          Noticed that the BB is closed from 10th August until the autumn for a major refit.

          Not a surprise as it was looking a bit tired after 25 years. It is a radical refit by a HK based design company - after living in HK for a few years this could be intersting. The menu gets a overhaul as well from Hemant Oberoi (Taj Group of Hotels executive chef) - really hope they keep the buffet.....!

          1. re: PhilD

            Oh, I hope so, too. I've been trying to get back there for about 8 years. It was my first British, Indian meal ever. Sadly, I didn't know a biryani from a rogan josh back then, but I did like the food. I used to stay at a hotel down the street and it was handy for meeting friends.

      1. Has anyone experienced refurbished Bombay Brasserie, I see from their web-site that it re-opened on the 5th January. They mention the buffet will still be available on Sundays. But what about other days?

        The restaurants website has promises some interesting cooking from an open kitchen....

        ".... the restaurant's outstanding new menu has been overseen by none other than the legendary Hemant Oberoi. Corporate Chef for the Taj Group of Hotels.... Widely credited with pioneering the trend of alternative Indian cuisine, Hemant has drawn on his vast experience and unrivalled creativity to create a new menu that blends tradition and authenticity with modern methods of cooking. The signature treats are truly one of a kind, featuring such delicacies as Lamb Kebabs on Sugarcane Candies and Paperwali Machchi - fish fillets drizzled with freshly ground peppercorns enveloped in parchment paper, char grilled in an open pit and served wrapped in a Bombay Brasserie newspaper...."

        1. I'm also keenly interested in any feedback on the refurbished Bombay Brasserie. We really wanted to go there on our last trip but weren't there on a Sunday. The new website has very little information, no menus and useful stuff like that, has anyone tried the new buffet?

          4 Replies
            1. re: DollyDagger

              Thanks.... the new decor is quite a change and looks splendid.

              1. re: DollyDagger

                It is an interesting menu structure. Do you think the "Interactive Studio Menu" is their version of a tasting menu? It also seems lunch is now based on "Tiffin Boxes" or ALC, and I assume a buffet only on Sunday.

                Certainly looks very interesting, I have eaten in quite a lot of Taj hotels in India and their cooking can be very good.

                1. re: DollyDagger

                  We went for lunch on Sunday. The buffet is still £22 a head which is good value. A good selection of well cooked food, many that you will never see on a UK Indian restaurant menu, especially some of the starters. My one complaint would be that some of the food was a little cold, something I don't remember from previous visits.

                  The results of the renovation are mixed. The bar area is a bit spartan and doesn't make you want to linger, and the main room is quite comfortable in an understated beige colour scheme, but with some quite stunning "bling" chandeliers. But the old conservatory has really suffered; it has really lost its character, and is now styled in "international conference centre" tones. The floor is pale beige marble (if normal beige wasn't bad enough), with no carpeting or softening so the room is quite noisy. The open kitchen is a missed opportunity, I had expected tandoori ovens with chefs producing kebabs and breads, but here they seem to have a griddle and deep fat fryer. I also thought it would have a beaten copper roof, but no it seems to be made of wood veneer or maybe wood effect sticky back plastic..!

                  It is good value (although I think the buffet is only Sundays), and full of extended Indian families celebrating birthdays , etc. If you do go book the main room not the conservatory.

              2. Thanks a million DollyDagger!