Bombay Club acquired a renovation from the similar London designer who developed the dining home much more than 30 several years back. Photograph by Greg Powers.
Ashok Bajaj operates 9 upscale dining establishments all around the DC region, but his initially, Bombay Club, retains a particularly particular location in his coronary heart. “This is in which I appear soon after opening any new cafe. This is exactly where I uncover anxiety release,” he suggests. It’s also where he’s hosted four US presidents (Trump was the rare exception) alongside with numerous bold-confronted names ranging from Nelson Mandela to Stevie Surprise.
“Nothing is improper here. Bombay Club has been well-liked all alongside for 32 years. The revenue has grown every single 12 months a minor little bit,” Bajaj states. But for the depth-oriented restaurateur, it’s essential that his toddler stays in tip-best shape. So Bombay Club just lately accomplished a complete makeover for a a lot more modern-day glance and menu. Never fear: you can continue to get the tandoori salmon and lamb vindaloo.
The initial Bombay Club was impressed by golf equipment from India’s British-colonial period and featured art with looking scenes on the partitions. (Bajaj often told individuals the useless animals have been “just having a nap.”) But Bajaj suggests the glance does not mirror what India is now.
“Those clubs have adjusted,” Bajaj claims. “I want to showcase what is going on. There is an evolution in the previous 10 many years, 15 a long time in India. Not only has it become far more modernized, but cuisine has modified far too.”
London-based mostly designer Harry Gregory of ARA Layout, who produced the restaurant’s unique look much more than 30 a long time ago, is driving the refresh, which was delayed mainly because of the pandemic. He’s changed the warm colour plan with cooler grays and blues, which include new Italian leather chairs and reupholstered striped velour banquettes. The non-public dining home features one-of-a-sort wall coverings, even though the dining place showcases images and art depicting Indian costume, dance, and culture. Amid the pieces is a collection of silhouettes manufactured of brushed aluminum depicting various poses of the standard Indian Kathak dance.
Even though practically every little thing is new, some fixtures have stayed, these types of as the big chandelier in the center of the dining place and the white grand piano for are living music. “When persons stroll in, we want them to really feel it’s a fresh new and new look. But we nonetheless want to remind people it’s the exact Bombay Club,” Bajaj claims.
The kitchen area also bought a makeover and will be turning out new dishes alongside with old favorites. Between the dozen or so additions: crab kori roti with roasted coconut, a duck kebab with goat cheeses and orange chutney, and a whole goat leg for two. Longtime staples this sort of as eco-friendly chili hen, Khubani duck, and the silver-platter thali continue being on the menu.
“When I opened Bombay Club, Indian meals was not well known in America. People understood curries and this and that… But it was tough educating individuals,” Bajaj suggests. The updated menu aims to superior reflect the actuality that numerous a lot more persons have now traveled to India, and Indian dining establishments have proliferated about the spot (which include Bajaj’s Rasika and Bindaas).
So with the latest updates, is Bajaj hoping to resume his streak of feeding presidents and entice in the most recent White House neighbor? The restaurateur notes that Hunter Biden has been in numerous moments, but “I do not know if President Biden is an Indian foodstuff admirer.” As an alternative, he expects Biden may possibly go to La Bise, his French brasserie that recently replaced Oval Home throughout the avenue from Bombay Club.
“A great deal of his staffers have been there. Jen Psaki, she’s been there. A whole lot of push comes there,” Bajaj says. “As prolonged as he’s executing the right matter for the entire world, for the nation, I’m Alright if he does not occur in this article. But if he comes, he’ll be welcome.”