Bombay Kitchen: Bringing the flavours of India and the entrepreneurial spirit to Guelph
March 3, 2016
Rajan Chhatkuli, Bhupindra Bhandari, and Pandu Shrestha sure know how to make someone’s day!
I was already looking forward to getting out of the office to interview the three owners of Bombay Kitchen, a fairly new downtown restaurant. But Mr. Chhatkuli unexpectedly invited me to help myself to the lunch buffet and brightened up my day.
What he most wants people to know is that the wonderful, truly authentic Indian food is prepared from scratch with the highest-quality ingredients in the restaurant’s kitchen, including all sauces, naans (traditional breads), accompaniments such as the yogurt-based raitas and mango chutney, and delicious desserts. Foods featuring tomatoes are never made with canned tomatoes, only fresh.
Of the many delectable buffet options, I selected chana masala, a perfectly spiced chickpea, onion, and tomato stew; butter chicken, tender pieces of chicken simmered in an ultra-creamy tomato sauce; aloo gobi, a hearty potato and cauliflower mixture; steamed vegetables, a carrot and cabbage combination with a rich flavour unlike anything I’ve ever managed to make at home; and gulab jamun, a stunningly good dessert made of dumplings in rose-scented syrup. The basket of still-hot, perfectly baked, chewy but soft naan rounded out the meal.
I was quite pleasantly surprised and relieved that the food was only mildly spicy, because I’m not usually able to tolerate the heat at many Indian restaurants.
The three men reflect the entrepreneurial spirit and international perspective that enrich the communities in which immigrants settle. It’s no surprise that the food is so good and the standards so high. The chefs, Bhupindra Bhandari and Pandu Shrestha, both originally from Nepal, are highly skilled and experienced. Bhupindra worked for several years in top-rated hotels in India before arriving in Canada in 1998. He then worked for many years in restaurants in and around Toronto and Fergus. Pandu came to Canada in 2007 and almost immediately pursued culinary training. The two boyhood friends have taken their professional lives to the next level by deciding to go into business for themselves rather than cooking for others. They’ve been hard at work getting Bombay Kitchen off the ground since September 2015.
Rajan, also a Nepali (the Nepali community in Guelph is growing and currently numbers around 350), arrived in Canada in 2014 and joined the partnership early in 2016. He has taken on the business development and marketing aspects of the business. But given that he is close to completing a Master’s degree in planning and development at the University of Guelph, and given his expertise in community development, he is most intent on building connections between the restaurant and other Guelph organizations. For instance, he has made the restaurant available to community groups for free for meetings of up to 120 people. And Bhupindra will bring his expertise to the University of Guelph, where he will demonstrate his cooking skills to students.
Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to the hospitality of the three men and their friendly staff, and the fabulous flavours of the Bombay Kitchen.
Location: 105 Macdonnell Street, Guelph
Hours: Daily 11:30 am – 10:00 pm; lunch buffet Monday-Friday, 11:30 am – 3:00 pm
Services: Dine-in, take-out, catering, hosting of groups of up to 120
Facebook: Bombay Kitchen, Fine Indian Cuisine