While he has a veritable portfolio of places now, restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s very first Washington restaurant, The Bombay Club, is iconic. Always impressive, The Bombay Club opened in 1988, as Washington’s first sophisticated Indian restaurant, and has consistently received accolades from critics and everyday diners alike.
Presidents, senators, and dignitaries can frequently be found there. The restaurant has served such esteemed guests as Former President Obama, Former President Clinton, Former President George H. W. Bush, Former President Nelson Mandela, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Former Vice President Richard Cheney, Alan Greenspan, Queen Noor of Jordan, Indian ambassadors, famous author, Dr. Deepak Chopra (pioneer of alternative medicine), among other world-renowned leaders and countless celebrities, including movie stars Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Goldie Hawn, and Kurt Russell, have also frequented the Bombay Club.
All this to say, the place has more than panache. So when Bajaj announced the restaurant would be closing for renovations, some patrons were nervous. Why mess with a power spot that has always been sure to please?
“It is time to update the restaurant with a new look that represents modern India. We will be incorporating original works of art and contemporary décor elements, as well as creating a new kitchen for our culinary team. Everything about The Bombay Club is changing including the table settings, glassware, furnishings, and lighting," said Bajaj, while adding: "The grand piano will stay as live music is one tradition that our diners would not want to lose.”
As the Bombay Club, which has now reopened for lunch and dinner service, unveils total renovations in both the front and back of the house, patrons will notice that many original features remain, like the large, hand-made brass chandelier, created and imported from India. But these features are now part of a new contemporary space with a relaxed and understated cool grey color scheme with pops of royal blue and turquoise.
The private dining room is a work of art, featuring specially handcrafted and printed wallcovering from the Scottish company, Timorous Beasties. And other curated art pieces specially commissioned for the restaurant offer additional insight into Indian costume, dance, and culture, all with contemporary flair.
One will find a new focal point of note can be found in the main dining room. A beautifully colored new original art installation, painted with oil and acrylic on a fine cotton canvas, is an impressionistic view of the traditional Indian Kathak dance. Diners will enjoy gazing upon this and 10 silhouettes made with brushed aluminum, that also display the motion and energy of dancers as they float within black box frames accented with silver, set against a dramatic dark silk wallcovering.
But of course it's not just about the new look. Signature classics of the landmark restaurant situated mere steps from the White House are still on offer, but Executive Chef Nilesh Singhvi has also introduced new dishes that highlight the diversity of India’s regions.
There's so much new to see and taste, but don't worry, the indulgent Sunday brunch buffet isn't going anywhere, the piano is indeed still in place, and The Bombay Club is still the best place in town for Lamb Vindaloo.
The Bombay Club is now reopen for lunch Mon - Fri 11:30am - 2:30pm, dinner Mon - Thurs 5:00pm - 9:30pm and Fri - Sat 5:00pm - 10:00pm. It is closed Sunday.
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