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29 Maddox Street
Following rave reviews of its autumn 2016 opening Jamavar, Leela Palaces Group has opened a second Mayfair Indian, on the former site of Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus. Street food and chaat is the big idea here, inspired by India’s dabbawala lunchbox deliveries, with a pastel-coloured interior designed to reflect the railway network that supports the service – look out for a nifty hat rack-cum-mirror, overhead luggage racks and cut-glass screens.
Small plates include doughy naan topped with lightly-spiced scrambled egg and earthy truffle shavings, vegetable samosas wrapped in never-bettered pastry and lashed with refreshing mint chutney, and warm chunks of meltingly tender goat meat served with bread rolls for dipping. The menu is bulked up by more substantial items such as biryanis and tandoor chops, but we’d recommend the mild Madras chicken curry, accompanied by a side of rice and a moreish wafer-thin podi dosa, ideal for scooping up leftovers.
We enjoyed what we ate, although heat and spice have been toned down for risk-averse Mayfair palates. Fun cocktails and knowledgeable staff are further pluses at a diverting newcomer that, while hardly a cheap eat, is more kindly priced than other Indians this side of Regent Street.
SquareMeal 2 Stars
29 Maddox Street
Oxford Circus Tube Station 271m
Bond Street Tube Station 540m
Hanover Square Gardens 167m
Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 5.30-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Mayfair doesn’t have any shortage of good Indian restaurants, but Bombay Bustle – despite its somewhat ridiculous name – is a welcome addition to the scene. It combines excellence of cooking with a relaxed informality in a beautifully designed room. The restaurant is the second offering from the group behind Jamavar and many of the same elements can be seen at both venues. The angle behind Bombay Bustle is to pay homage to the dynamism of the Bombay dining scene, recreating many classic local dishes and serving them in a room designed to mimic the city in its heyday, albeit a refined part. Décor wise, take a heavy dose of art deco and add in a few bold colours (greens and pinks) and this is what you get at Bombay Bustle. Even if a local citizen may not recognise the Mayfair-style reinterpretation of their city (located on the site of the former Hibiscus), it is the cooking that counts. My dining comrade and I were encouraged to sample three small dishes and one or two larger ones (we went for two – obviously in the interests of research). Pricing is fair, with the former priced in the £5-10 range and the latter at around £15. Chef Rohit Ghai apparently takes his inspiration from both Bombay’s heritage and his mother’s own kitchen and there is an undoubted originality to the menu. Among our small dishes, we were particularly impressed with the ‘quail 65’ and the rarah keema pao: respectively, some intensively flavoured pieces of the bird coated in a Kashmiri chilli paste; and, a deeply satisfying goat curry of which we could have eaten more. The mains were even better: some very tender roasted lamb and a wonderfully flavoursome and diverse sea food biryani. If there were a criticism, then it would simply be that the portion sizes could be smaller, since we were left well (too) sated by the meal’s close. Although we only partook in soft drinks, Bombay Bustle’s wine list looked interesting and would merit checking out. Even on a Friday lunchtime, there was a certain ‘bustle’ to the place. In the evenings, we were told, it gets livelier. A return visit is definitely in order.
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