Bombay Lounge: Putting the color back in Indian food

Hints of lemon, mint, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cumin and cloves envelop the senses in each bite of Aloo Gosht, a meat curry. The mutton is tender, delicate and fresh. The potatoes add texture to the sauce, which is spicy enough to enhance the flavors without being overpowering.

Before you know it, you are reaching yet for another mouthful of lamb, basmati rice and naan bread. A splendid example of northern India’s most popular dish cooked by Harsh Bathia of Bombay Lounge 93.

Indian Cuisine is as complex, diverse and rich as the country itself, and pin-pointing that one emblematic dish or single recipe to follow is a challenge few take on. However, Bombay Lounge 93, located a few blocks away from the park, offers guests a gastronomic experience of India’s classic dishes.

“You can’t describe Indian food in a sentence, because it is very varied, you can find every color, texture and food type in one plate,” explains Harsh. For him, food is an integral sensorial experience that starts with the eyes, and is capable of captivating the mind and the heart as much as the senses.

The chef understands the culinary nuances of each region of his country of origin, and has mastered cooking techniques in top-notch kitchens such as the Oberoi Hotel in Udaipur to deliver an authentic and well-executed menu.

Besides Aloo Gosht ($33,600), Bombay Lounge 93 offers a varied set of entrees and appetizers, including vegetarian options and a lunch special. The Butter Chicken ($33,600) is new to the list, and is faithfully carried out: the savory and velvety sauce melts with the meat in every bite, a definite must try.

With eight types of bread ($5,400- $6,300 per serving) and five different preparations of rice to choose from ($7,800- $11,700 per portion) there is almost never enough basmati and naan to finish an Indian meal, and that is also true at Bombay Lounge 93.

If appetizers are more your thing, the restaurant serves plenty of them. Pawan Singh is the chef in charge of preparing them, as well as all dishes cooked in the tandoori oven. Somosas, veggie or chicken ($14,000), are as tasty as the Mix Pagodas ($11,700) or the Bombay Paneer Shashlik ($18,600), which complements the assortment by adding a hint of cayenne pepper to the meal. Make sure to include Palak Paneer ($26,700). This cheese and spinach dish is creamy and well balanced, a real treat for those looking for soft texture and a sharp refreshing taste.

The idea behind Bombay Lounge 93’s appetizers is to enjoy an assortment of small dishes while sipping an after work cocktail, perhaps a Gin Tonic, with friends before heading back home or staying for dinner. However, food is the heart and soul of the restaurant. Appetizers and entrees at Bombay Lounge 93 are meant to be shared, which is good value for your money. Besides, the restaurant offers a lunch special during the week served as a Thali style meal in a rectangular tray that includes rice, a salad, a vegetable and a protein – plant based or animal. Most choices are available from the main menu, and the price varies from $21,900 to $38,700. Beverages are not included.

Try the mango lassy, a yogurt-based milkshake ($6,900) or salt one made with cumin and – yes – salt. And if you crave for a dish that is not on the menu, just ask, the staff will try to accommodate your cravings as best they can. In fact, customers can choose the level of spice in their meal, and enjoy Indian flavors regardless of the amount of chili.

The authentic menu of Bombay Lounge 93 comes as no surprise. Harsh Bathia opened and worked at Taj-Mahal in Usaquén before he took on Bombay Lounge 93. The Usaquén restaurant is close to celebrating its 5th anniversary and continues to offer guests a really good Indian meal.

Chefs Harsh Bathia and Pawan Singh of Bombay Lounge

Behind Taj-Mahal and Bombay Lounge 93 is Verónica Barquero, and her husband Raúl Buriticá and business partners and friends Amit Kataria and Sheenan Groover.

The two couples decided to open the second restaurant to offer clients South of Usaquén a more central option with a more modern feeling to it and the same high-quality standard.

“We, the Colombian couple (although I’m from Costa Rica), and our Indian friends, make a great team. We support each other. They contribute the Indian touch and we provide the Western feel of what can and cannot work here, and still, after five years in business, we remain the best of friends,” Verónica explains.

Friendship might be the key to the success of both restaurants. But, one thing is certain, Bombay Lounge 93 is an excellent choice to enjoy classic Indian food. Or, as Verónica would say, “we serve great Indian food to par with any good Indian restaurant anywhere in the world, whether it be Melbourne, New York, London or any other cosmopolitan city.”

Bombay Lounge 93

Calle 93 No. 13A–28.