Busan Food: Bombay Bräu
A new Indian restaurant in town is something that’s always worth checking out in my book. So this Friday, I went to check out the opening weekend of Bombay Bräu, the new kid on the block of the Haeundae curry scene.
Bombay Bräu is not new. The first restaurant and its micro-brewery were opened 3 years ago on Geoje island, where the beer is still made. In the time since, the brand has expanded rapidly, and now has ten locations, including two more in Busan: Gwangali and Nampo-dong. You can visit their website here. When we visited on the opening Friday the restaurant was quiet, so I had a chance to catch up with Shyam, the owner.
When I asked him how they have managed to expand to an impressive ten branches in only three years, his answer was simple: quality. He believes that Bombay Bräu truly serve the best curry in Korea. With this ringing endorsement, I was eager to get ordering.
We ordered some classic dishes. Bombay Bräu’s famous Chicken Tikka Masala, the Lamb Dopyaza, along with two pilau rice, and a garlic naan. The food came out promptly, and was nicely presented. The curry was placed over some sparkling clean candle towers, which ensured the curry stayed hot throughout. I’ve always appreciated this touch at good curry houses, as there’s nothing worse than cold curry! The flavor was superb. One thing that’s hard to do with curry is to keep a fresh flavor, whilst still achieving the rich blend of spices the dish needs. They succeeded at Bombay Bräu. The masala sauce was creamy and slightly spicy, with a lovely consistency and flavor to the sauce. The chunks of chicken were generous, and the dish was truly empty after we had finished!
The Lamb Dopyaza was equally good. I really miss lamb living in Korea, and all too often when I order a lamb dish the pieces are pitifully small. Not the case here. Big, tender chunks of meat came in a slightly spicy sauce, with plenty of sliced fried onion, as a Dopyaza should be. The pilau rice came in generous portions! We had ordered one each, but honestly one to split may well have sufficed. The naan was also a success. With naan bread I look for a crust that is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and a thin, crispy middle section of the bread. This naan delivered, and was hot and fresh to boot.
A special mention must go to the beer at Bombay Bräu. I tried a large IPA, and I have to say it was very good. With the proliferation of craft beer becoming available in Korea (and especially Busan!) these days, I think it is a smart move for a restaurant to pair its food with great beer. It’s certainly an extra reason to pay them a visit.
After our meal, and feeling well satisfied, Shyam took us up to the rooftop of the restaurant. This was a surprise. As can be seen from the photos the location is superb. The roof garden is simple and spacious, and looks down Haeundae’s main drag to the beach. It would be a fantastic place to sink a couple of their IPA’s on a nice summer day. He is currently looking for someone with bar experience to manage this part of the operation. Anyone interested can contact him on: email@example.com.
We went down to pay the bill. Two curries, two rice and a naan (the beer was kindly gifted as a professional gratuity) came to a reasonable 42,000. Although a little more expensive than Bombay Brau’s other locations, it is a great meal. I should note that being British, and having spent time in India, that this isn’t ‘traditional’ Indian food like you would find in India. For a start they barely eat any meat there. However, it is a cracking version of the Indian food us expats are used to eating, and well worth a visit!
Directions: Bombay Bräu’s location is a doddle to find. Come out of Haeundae exit 5, and walk straight down towards the beach. The restaurant is about 200m down from the station, above Baskin and Robbin’s.