29 Maddox Street, W1S
WHAT AND WHERE? If you toss a poppadom into Mayfair, you’re bound to hit at least four fine dining Indian establishments. A few of them even have a Michelin star, such as Jamavar, the founders of which are behind Bombay Bustle, a more casual affair less than 10 minutes away.
WHAT’S THE DEAL? The set menus are inspired by Mumbai’s tiffin tin carriers, who use India’s railways to deliver home-cooked food. Park up in one of the booths designed to look like a colonial-era train carriage, and choose from one of two menus, a veggie one at £16 per person and a meaty one at £19, comprising a starter, main and a side, all of which arrive at the same time, stacked atop each other in a tasty tiffin tower.
WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? Both come with a buttery black dhaba dal, a too-generous mountain of otherwise perfectly-cooked rice and a basket of springy bread. There are also palm-sized poppadoms to snack on (ideal for scooping), but no desserts in this deal.
IS IT VEGGIE FRIENDLY? There’s a whole menu for you, what more could you ask for? You even pay less than the carnivores. Lucky you, legume lover.
Inside Bombay Bustle
WHAT SHOULD I PICK? An under-spiced potato patty was little more than stodge, but the malabar chicken wings are delectable finger food; sticky, crispy and luridly orange. A delicate kerala fish curry arrives for the main, but the paneer butter masala is a rich, comforting cuddle in a tin.
ROOM FOR DESSERT? They’re not part of the tiffin deal, but they’re available on a separate menu. Whether you like them or not will depend on how you feel about aromatic desserts. If you like rose water or fruity lassis, you’re in luck.
WHAT IF IT GETS BOOZY? Choose from two beers on draft, a classic pint of Cobra, or IPA Malabar served in a hefty pewter tankard. Better yet, pick from five G&T combinations, made with Indian tonic, of course.
NEED TO BOOK? Absolutely. It was full even on a Monday. Ask for one of the booths for privacy and room for paperwork, or a round table in the middle of the restaurant for bonhomie. Visit bombaybustle.com to book through OpenTable, call 020 7290 4470 or email email@example.com for more outlandish requests. All the meat is halal, too.
VALUE FOR MONEY? Extremely when you consider its location. Nestled in among illustrious neighbours like Sketch and Pollen Street Social, you can bask in a whole set meal here for the price of a main course next door.
COULD I DO IT IN AN HOUR? It’s ideal for doing in a lunch break. No fussy amuse bouches, all the food arrives at the same time and it’s easily packaged up if you need to dash.
THE VERDICT… A no frills addition to Mayfair’s dining scene. Surroundings are smart, and the food is decent without being fussy, served in a way that’s perfect for social dining.