big, bad, bold…
…flavors of bombay brought to you by badmaash!
the brothers’ mahendro have landed on second street and are slinging indian home cooking with a liberal dose of street style. we stumbled upon (okay, stalked) them during their soft opening this past week and have been treated to a slice of bombay in this cozy little gastropub. brothers nakul and arjun along with their father, executive chef pav moved here to sunny so cal three years ago from having a successful run of restaurants in toronto. their father built himself up in the restaurant business from the ground floor and the two sons got their training in classic italian and french cookery.
their mission is simple: “we have to remember; we are not in the business of selling food, wine or service. we are in the business of manufacturing happiness in people – food, wine and service are our tools.” their family lives up to their creed by delivering a healthy dose of hospitality in a bright, relaxing atmosphere that invites communing around well crafted authentic flavors paired with crisp beers and full bodied wines. their passion is obvious in their interaction with their customers and the amount of detail and personality infused in the decor, menu and personal effects around the establishment.
just a small selection of the delicacies offered, clockwise: aromatic basmatic rice with cumin seeds, tandoori smoked eggplant bharta with caramelized onion and roasted garlic, tomato chutney, saag paneer made from mom’s secret recipe and a traditional butter chicken
a walk past the front door and you are immediately struck by the delicious smells vented via the exhaust from the kitchen. twice already i’ve been sidetracked from other restaurants just by the aromas alone and have witnessed firsthand the faces of pedestrians as they tap on the door inquiring details for the official opening.
the soft opening offered a limited menu and dishes are being added regularly after having been sampled by guests. i’m still blown away by the flavors of the paneer which are deep and complex. most paneer i’ve had is pablum compared to the oniony goodness and whatever mom’s secret is with the cheese makes for a heavenly connection to the taste-buds. the eggplant is roasted whole in a tandoori oven until it crumbles infusing the dish with a smokey flavor and the butter chicken is to die for with the delicate zing of fenugreek.
however, not everything on the menu is traditional indian. under a little menu heading called bombay street cart, the brothers with chef pav are able to exercise playfulness with these items taken straight from the streets. below is a take on nachos called chickpea & chips or papri chaat. it was a surprising dish that packed a lot flavor combining chickpea and potato flour crisps with whipped yogurt, tamarind and mint chutneys. a delicious way to start off a meal. not pictured here but my favorite, is the 2 bite fish fry or machhi amritsari. an amuse bouche of daily fish fried golden brown in chickpea batter with carom seed and dried mango dust. yaaaassssss, yass to anything fried but they need to quit teasing and make it a main because two bites is never going to be enough!
in addition to these dishes, is also a take on a canadian favorite, poutine. traditionally, a bland mess of french fries, gravy and cottage cheese these guys elevate it with their crisp, spicy masala fries with chicken tikka and mozzarella! the menu also features a special of dad’s famous carlsbad mussels with a white wine and saffron cream sauce with mushrooms, tomato and onions; charred tiger shrimp with roasted garlic and onion seeds; tandoori mushrooms charred with lemon and spices and finished with mango dust and black salt. need i go on? yeah, if you’re looking for a buffet, you won’t find that here but if you want out of the box indian cuisine with warmth and personality, you need go no further than badmaash.
one of the movie posters which adorn the walls of the upper level. favorite posters like these from a childhood cinema are just a few of the items that add a personal touch and provide fodder for dinnertime conversation.
opening for lunch, may 22 so be sure to introduce yourself to nakul, arjum and chef pav and allow them to share with you a very personal journey into a fresh take on indian cuisine!