Ashok Bajaj is the consummate restauranteur. Upon his arrival to DC from London in 1998, Bajaj opened his first Washington restaurant, The Bombay Club, located just one block from the White House. His Knightsbridge Restaurant Group now includes such renowned institutions as Rasika, Bibiana, The Oval Room, 701, SABABA, and Bindaas.
Bajaj’s list of accolades is long: his restaurants have consistently been nominated for prestigious awards by the James Beard Foundation, are RAMMYs mainstays, and are often named among some of the top restaurants in the U.S.
Point is, the guy’s a star.
This December marks The Bombay Club’s 30th birthday, a milestone made all the more impressive in today’s here today, gone tomorrow dining scene. And that milestone deserves a proper celebration – easy to accomplish when dealing with Bajaj’s trademark style of haute cuisine combined with impeccable service.
Give The Bombay Club’s luxe background, it’s no surprise that the restaurant is pulling out all the stops for its diamond anniversary celebration. Guests who dine in December will receive a complimentary glass of champagne, as well as the option to participate in a $65 four-course, prix fixe menu showcasing a selection of the Bombay Club’s classic Indian dishes.
The special menu is split into two sections. One covers the originals: the dishes that have been on and off the menu at various points throughout the restaurant’s 30-year tenure. The second includes Bombay Club classics: dishes that have long delighted guests.
The former category includes such excellent dishes as the Goan Crab Masala, with jumbo lump crab, Indian spices, curry leaves, and sautéed onion; or the Duck Kebab, a skewered sausage of duck singing with chilies, ginger, and nutmeg.
The latter category, by contrast, is dedicated to heartier dishes, including the restaurant’s signature, Tandoori Salmon. Originally conceived by Bajaj when he noticed the ubiquity of salmon on American menus, the dish char-grills meaty salmon in the tandoori oven, and pairs it with a cooling date raita, ginger, and garlic. Even better is the Salli Boti, a curry combining cubes of tender lamb with the revelatory addition of stewed apricots: savory, sweet, and satisfying. The winner by far, however, is the Green Chili Chicken, a dish whose serious chili heat is both offset and enhanced with dill, tomato, and cilantro.
A Kale and Spinach Kofta and a Dal Makhani satisfy the needs for some non-meat options, and each is intensely cravable.
Finish your meal with a trio of desserts: Cardamom Crème Brulee, the classic with an Indian twist; Coconut Jaggery Rice Pudding, a upscale take on an Indian street food; and a Spiced Pumpkin Kulfi, the most delightful ice cream pop I’ve ever enjoyed.
Bajaj remains, as always, one of the most charming and engaging hosts in the city, whether you’re a Cabinet Member, dignitary, or just a fan of good food in DC. Congratulations to the entire Bombay Club team – here’s to another 30 years as one of the nation’s premier Indian dining experiences.