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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Peachy's Picks Washington DC: The Bombay Club of The Knightsbridge Restaurant Group by Ashok Bajaj Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

Nilesh Singhvi, Executive Chef of The Bombay Club, and Manager Santosh Bodke

The quintessential Samundari Thali 

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There's no doubt in our mind that Ashok Bajaj is the most talented multiple-location restaurateur on the East Coast; no other restaurant group in Washington, D.C. has been invited to be reviewed three times so far, and hit the high note every time as well we might add.  We'd venture to say he's better than any restaurant group we've experienced at this length in Manhattan, so if The Knightsbridge Restaurant Group opens in New York someday, everyone else should know that serious competition has arrived.
We first met Ashok at
701 just over a year ago:
Peachy and Ashok
We were impressed last fall when we saw him next at Nopa:
Among what is most impressive about The Knightsbridge Restaurant Group in our experience is that in this third time, though Peachy was in direct contact before, during and after the review with Ashok, he was not personally there (Peachy's dining tour in Washington the last time was most demanding timing-wise so we could not always match up with people who had already proved themselves) yet the experience was still extremely high caliber.  Somehow Ashok has the singular ability to be omnipresent, and has the wisdom to hire people that want his brands to excel.  In our restaurant reviews, restaurants know we are coming, the first time.  Afterwards, we do check up on them unannounced and if a restaurant has only been featured once, that should say something to you.  In The Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, there are seven restaurants and the first one was The Bombay Club founded in 1989.  Ashok started telling us about it during the 701 review so it's been one of the most highly anticipated for us, since there was a year between when we knew of it and when we visited.  We've never been to India before, but we feel as if we stamped our passport upon entering and leaving The Bombay Club.  You're transported into a paradise where you feel like cricket players could be in the distance while you pursue your fragrant culinary journey.  Lilting enlightened background music is at precisely the proper volume level to enhance your experience rather than overwhelm it.
Over the years, The Bombay Club has become known for its refined and uncluttered presentation of Regional Indian cuisine.  Not bound by any tradition, their chefs pick dishes from culturally and chronologically diverse sources - from wholesome village repasts to indulgent aristocratic favorites; from the ancient and elaborate to the practical and modern.  They boast a contemporary approach to nutrition when blending the original flavors, and the modern style of the cuisine is representative of a thousand years of culinary evolution.  If you think you don't like Indian food, we have one thing to say to you.  You just have not had the RIGHT Indian food, and this is the best we've ever had.  Peachy Deegan began with Goan masala crab: lump crab, spices, onions, and curry leaves.  The superior flavor of this combination made this a first course to remember.  Mustard seeds, ginger, and garlic were some of the spices involved and the generous chunks of succulent crab announced culinary perfection.  Warm, tender and fragrant, the Goan masala crab is something you must try.  
The deep rustic spices make everything taste like a warm summer day even if you could be in the depths of winter or a thunderstorm.  

The dinner menu has options from both Northern and Southern India, and for the last eight years 
Nilesh Singhvi, the Executive Chef, has been at the helm of the kitchen in The Bombay Club.  As we have not featured Indian food extensively, Manager Santosh Bodke professionally answered all of our questions.  Emphasis on all...

Just steps away from The White House, The Bombay Club could literally be the closest restaurant to it geographically.  The Bombay Club has served the “who’s who” including Former President Clinton, Former President George H. W. Bush, the late President Nelson Mandela, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Former Vice President Richard Cheney, Alan Greenspan, Indian ambassadors, author and Dr. Deepak Chopra (pioneer of alternative medicine), among other world renowned leaders.  The Bombay Club has also been visited by movie stars including Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Goldie Hawn, and Kurt Russell, among many other celebrities.  Not only are the culinary pursuits of The Bombay Club extraordinary, but also the people around you, both working and visiting, and the decor.  We could not help but be reminded of Mover and Shaker India Hicks by the extraordinarily beautiful environment.  Her mother is Lady Pamela Hicks, daughter to the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma. Lord Mountbatten was the last Viceroy to India, and gave the country their independence in 1947. Hence India’s name, being the last grandchild.

On the wine menu, quotes were not lost on us.
"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."
-Benjamin Franklin
Peachy Deegan sipped on the Seven Sinners Petit Sirah from Lodi, California.  From a 50-year-old vine, this 2012 vintage had a tremendous body and was bursting with rich, dark fruit notes as well as bittersweet cocoa and toffee.  It boasted an expressive palate with a firm, persistent finish that to us, went well with our culinary choices.  We are not huge advocates of pairing and think it's more important to drink what you like rather than what someone else thinks goes together.

We noticed the decor had colors of peach and mint green which lends itself to elegant relaxation.  The old colonial style clubs of the British Raj we imagine were fascinating places; the "Club" was a British institution originating from Empire involvement in India.  You'd meet at the Club for a drink and conversation and possibly dinner, and polo and field hockey were played on the grounds.  Think people sitting in wicker chairs sipping Gin and Tonics on a veranda with fans flapping, card games being played and newspapers being read.  

As an entree, we narrowed down our choices to the House Thali.  A Thali is a well-balanced meal served on a traditional silver platter, and there are three variations.  We liked that with these choices, you experience quite a lot which is educational for the diner as well as satisfying to multiple aspects of your palate.  We avoid tasting courses in general always, however with this array, it seemed as if all parts combined together harmoniously and this is considered to be one entree.  The House Thali we chose was the Samundari Thali: fresh seafood, cooked curry, and tandoori style and dal.  Let us explain it to you: there are seven components going around clockwise, starting at about 10 o'clock: 1) Fish curry, though this set our New England taste buds on fire, we actually enjoyed it which is unusual.  Onion, tomato sauce, and fresh grouper combined with sensational spices will wow you; 2) Creamed Spinach, this vegetable will neutralize the previously mentioned fire, and adds nutrition and color as well; 3) Lentil and Kidney Beans, this is not at all boring when you add onions, chili and garlic and did you know that beans are good for you; 4) Cucumber Yogurt, this cools your palate need we say more, also it has a splendid consistency and terrific quality; 5) Lemon Cashew rice, fantastic texture, great flavor, another wonderful equalizer; 6) Shrimp in mustard sauce, again we were set aflame much to our sincere delight, unlike other fire-breathing moments of lesser dinner reviews when you have the proper edible components to neutralize the fire, you will enjoy it.  In the middle was an amazingly fresh salmon that is exactly as you'd want a piece of nice fish.

And, of course why have one dessert when you can try four new ones?  Again going clockwise starting top left please meet: 1) Rabri Blueberries, Rabri is cooked milk, only milk, and it is delightful with blueberries. It reminded us of pudding but different; 2) Gulab Jamun, a rose-flavored dumpling, deep fried; 3) Carrot Halwa, warm with lovely texture; and 4) Rice Pudding, served cold and delicious.

We can't wait to return to our India!~!!!
We quote the menu: 
"Let us be together
Let us eat together
Let us be vital together
Let us be radiating truth
Radiating the light of life
Never shall we denounce anyone
Never entertain negativity."
Timeless words from The Upanishads
Indian Classic Writings
Peachy Picks The Bombay Club!
The Bombay Club is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

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