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Restaurant review: Bombay Borough

Restaurant review: Bombay Borough

Bombay Borough, which opened in Gate Village 3 of DIFC in February, is willing to brave

Bombay Borough, Dubai

There isn’t a dearth of Indian cuisine across Dubai. From fusion-Indian to molecular gastronomy, restaurants across the emirate are attempting to put their own spin on food from the South Asian culinary powerhouse.

Opening up another Indian restaurant in Dubai, and that too in the fiercely competitive DIFC area of the emirate where you’re instantly competing with international concepts, is a bold move. But it’s a challenge that Bombay Borough, which opened in Gate Village 3 of DIFC in February, is willing to brave.

The split-level restaurant has a takeaway café on the bottom level called The Gully Kitchen that offers up gluten-free dosa pockets and grab-and-go biryanis, while it has a more formal sit-down restaurant above it that can be accessed via a private elevator.

The décor upstairs isn’t filled with traditional clichéd Indian references. Instead, it features bright contemporary art and has Western music playing in the background. The space has marble top tables, black-and-white floors and an indoors as well as an alfresco dining space.

Bombay Borough sells itself as a restaurant that offers “hyper local” Indian cuisine. One glance at the menu and you’ll realize that they’ve sourced ingenious ingredients from specific areas across India: Bhoot Jolokia from the North East, Aam Papad from Amritsar, pink salt from the Himalayas, and Podi Masalas from the south of India.

We began with the Aam Papad Paneer that consisted of crisp lotus stems helming in the paneer which is placed on a base of mango pulp (aam papad) and is topped with sundried mango slivers and ‘chaat masala’ which is a mixture of spices and commonly used as a garnishing over street-food staples.

The bhoot jolokia meanwhile is considered to be one of the world’s spiciest chillis and is grown in the north-east region of India. We decided to hazard the Naga Ghosht Pepper Wings which comprised of spicy chicken wings with fiery-hot bhoot jolokia chilli. For refuge, we found ourselves resorting to the accompanying yoghurt dip.

For the mains, the well-informed staff suggested we have the house-recommended Jodhpur mutton which comprised of clove smoked lamb with Marwar Mathaniya chillis sourced from the north-Indian city of Jodhpur. But with our palette still reeling from the bhoot jolokia chillis, we decided to skip it and instead opted for the Kashmiri naan Kebab, a succulent preparation of mutton mince-seekh with black pepper and red chilli marinated into the kebab, served atop naans brushed with saffron oil alongside a ‘doon chetti’ yoghurt and walnut dip.

For the rice selection, we skipped the Mario’s Mango Prawn and Coconut Rice that references the popular Goa cartoonist, Mario Miranda, and the prawns cooked in an ‘ambotik masala’ preparation from his home state.

Instead, we opted for Bombay Berry Biryani and Apricot Salli Chicken which are a firm favourite among the Parsi community within India. Sampling this combination at Bombay Borough takes you right back to Britannia restaurant in Mumbai’s Ballard Estate area which has served a combination of these two dishes for decades.

Here at Bombay Borough, the berry pulao is cooked in exactly the same way as Brittania and comprises of saffron rice, caramelized onions and sweet-sour Iranian berries, whereas the salli chicken comprises of tangy chicken cooked with stewed apricots and a tomato base.

For desserts, the options include Amritsari kulfi and Anglo-Indian bread pudding which is served with vanilla custard, but we opted for the Ras-e-aam which is made up of Bengali ‘rosgullas (Indian cottage cheese)’ covered with sweet condensed milk called ‘rabdi’ and was topped with ‘aamras’ or Alphonso mangoes from Gujarat.

If you want a quick tour of India and a sample of its chief ingredients from different regions of the country over the course of a single meal, head to Bombay Borough.

Bombay Borough, Gate Village Building 3, next to Coffee Club, DIFC. Sunday-Thursday noon-11.30pm; Friday-Saturday noon-1.30am. Tel: (04) 327 1555

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