Bombay Tawa N Kebab is a new Indian restaurant in Karama. Located opposite Betawi on 4 B Street, it sits within (winter) walking distance of some heavy hitting competition, not least Dhaba Lane, Arsalan and newcomers Lucknowee and Mumbai Hafta (to name but a few). BTNK’s interior is simple, clean and homely – a reflection of owner, Chef Salim, himself a veteran of the region’s culinary scene. He talks about Bombay Tawa N Kebab as if its one of his grandchildren; from the freshest ingredients they use to the secret recipes to the fact that there is no microwave in their kitchen – no reheats. BTNK is his labour of love.
Although the Thumbelina sized restaurant boasts an extensive menu of North Indian and Mumbai favourites, Chef Selim took it upon himself to order for us – Chicken Tikka to start followed by tawa made Mutton Bhuna Gosht, Dal Tadka, Bhindi Fry and the most amazing Mutton Khichra I have had in a long time. For those of you who don’t know what Khichra is, it’s a variation of Haleem hugely popular with Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. Although cooked and served all year, it is particularly popular during Ramadan and also Ashura. Rather than rice, Chef Selim served us parathas.
I was joined at BTNK by my BFF Kambiz, an American Japanese foodie with Persian heritage and Parisian finesse, who cut his culinary teeth to-and-froing between San Francisco and Tokyo. A frequent visitor to Dubai, he has been with me on many of my Karama escapades. His comments best sum the food at BTNK – this is the closest to homemade food I have had in a restaurant. Whilst I wouldn’t go quite so far, I agree that there’s definitely something special about the food at this new little eatery. I especially enjoyed the dal and bhindi…yes, and the oof, oof, oof khichra.
Service was friendly, fast and infinitely accommodating. You get that with restaurants where the owner is also the manager (and on site). Let me give you an example of what I mean: when asked for what I wanted to drink, I asked back – do you have fresh lime soda? Without hesitation, Chef Selim said he would make me the best fresh lime soda ever. It was only after we ordered our second one that I noticed the waiter run across the street to the grocery store to buy the soda, something not on the menu – how amazing is that? And, you know what? Of course, it was the best fresh lime soda ever.
Bombay Tawa N Kebab brings a breath of fresh air to an overcrowded segment of the F&B scene. It doesn’t do this using fancy décor or marketing hocus pocus. Instead, its pitch is old-school – wholesome, freshly made, homecooked-style food in a small, family-orientated environment. Now if that doesn’t appeal to you, I don’t know what will. I’m going back for more…
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.