Gateway to Indian flavours.
Bambu India Gate, formerly known just as Bambu, has shifted from a Chinese cuisine to an Indian one and relaunched its menu.
Like a bamboo shoot (which symbolises freedom of spirit, regeneration, renewal and flexibility) rising from ground, the restaurant has been revamped in its classy two-storey villa; bigger, brighter and better than before.
K S Baliga, owner and keeper of the arsenal of aromatic spices and fiery fare, welcomed assistant editor Zahid Balooshi, acting marketing manager Sylvia Fernandes and I into his fine establishment as we toasted Sylvia's birthday with a selection of India's finest creations.
For the appetisers, I plumped for the Chicken Varuval, a lovely, juicy chicken dish marinated in a fine selection of herbs and spices. Sylvia chose the Fish Hyderabadi, which packed a lot of spice into its flaky texture, whilst Zahid chose the Chicken Tawa Fry.
This pan-fried chicken marinated in a choice of spices was a dry slice of meat but oozed flavour with every bite, especially when complemented with poppadum and mint chutney.
For main courses, I decided to plump for the ultimate staple of Indian cuisine, Murgh Makhani, better known as Butter Chicken to the uncultured. This creamy, aromatic dish was superb and even a small pot filled me up. It was helped down by an ample supply of cheese, garlic and butter naans, too!
Zahid chose the Chicken Hyderabadi, which was tender chicken tossed in herbs and selected spices. He described it as very tasty with a mixture of sensations, from soft spice to sharp bitterness that blended together into a great dish. The fact he left barely a mark on his plate afterwards indicates it went down a treat!
Birthday girl Sylvia decided to crown her special day with Chicken Dum Biriyani. This was a cute pot of aromatic basmati rice and clay oven-cooked chicken, filled with authentic flavour. Kudos to the team of six chefs from all across India whose years of experience went into such a fine creation.
Sadly, the urgent need to get back to the office to tie the paper up for deadline day prevented us from trying the wide array of desserts, of which the Fried Banana and Ice Cream particularly caught my eye.
Afterwards, I spoke to Mr Baliga and asked him about Bambu's resurrection as an Indian fine dining outlet.
He said: "I was looking to open a new restaurant in Bahrain, having had two businesses in Saudi Arabia for 22 years. Bambu's previous owner Vijay Boloor is a very good friend of mine, and he offered to sell Bambu to me.
"It worked perfectly, as we had a restaurant in a prime location, plus a recognisable name that has stood for many years in Bahrain. However, we still had a platform to build on.
"It's early days, having only been open for a week, but we have had a good response so far, with a mixture of old and new customers turning up. It's nice to see a positive response after two gruelling months of redecorating.
"We have a very reasonable and competitive price point and I personally don't think you'll get such high quality for a price this low, so hopefully more people will come and see Bambu India Gate."
The restaurant offers executive lunch packages from Sunday-Thursday, for just BD2.800 between noon and 3.30pm. There are also Ladies Nights on Wednesday and Gentlemen's Nights on Monday.
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