333 at the beach
Chef’s Market 333 at the beach British International School, Phuket Pro Property Partners
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


The Culinary Detective: Bollywood is back

A quite common conversational ice breaker when out and about in Thailand is, ‘Where do you live?’ I love to answer this by informing those enquiring that I count myself as extremely fortunate in having the best of both worlds; both a home in Phuket and also one in Bangkok. The rationale for this, I continually remind myself, apparently gives me the benefits of city living for business combined with the regular opportunity to soak up sun, sea, sand and immerse myself in the slower lifestyle of the island.

DiningCulinary-DetectiveChris-Watson
By Chris Watson

Sunday 28 February 2021, 02:00PM


Lately, I must confess to wishing I was more permanently based in Phuket as the so-called advantages of half my time in Bangkok are gradually dwindling away with air quality and certain difficult-to-understand restrictions being two key drawbacks. And food wise, whilst there are of course many more restaurants to choose from in the Big Mango, I find myself missing certain Phuket gems which, were I more island-based, would undoubtedly become my regular haunts. One such restaurant would definitely be Bollywood.

On my regular trips south, whenever an opportunity arises, I have descended on Bollywood as incredibly reliable in delivering consistently comforting Indian food. As you all know, us Brits love a good Indian meal; Chicken Tikka, Dahl, Mutton Rogan Josh and a number of varied Naan breads to dip and ultimately mop up!

During these visits, I have inevitably ended up chatting over a butter chicken with the effervescent Sam Sethi, the owner and head of the family business which covers a multitude of differing ventures. The restaurant was his brainchild and actually launched seven years ago to enable him to have a convivial location in which he could meet his business community. 

The restaurant, as one might expect, has been redecorated over the years. However, as I entered recently I was initially surprised not to see Sam himself at the door and find myself in a quite stylish and contemporary restaurant, not as I have become accustomed. I recheck my surroundings to ensure I am in the right place… Yes, this is the new Bollywood!

I am greeted by Priya, one of Sam and Chin’s daughters who returned to Phuket last year to oversee a comprehensive refurbishment of the restaurant and introduce a reimagined updated menu. I must say that the interior is a significant change with striking ochre walls adorned with simply framed Bollywood posters, a fond nod to its past, and rattan-backed seating lends the whole room a very cool vibe. Comfortable sofas with themed cushions pull me inside and Priya shares her new vision.

Brightview Center

Even the menu presentation and layout has been changed to reflect new, perhaps younger tastes. I do notice that Bollywood is now referred to as an Indian bistro – I am intrigued. Yes, pleasingly, the menu still has the stalwarts as one might expect but also includes a number of more fusion dishes with Indian themed dishes given a modern twist, such as mutton rogan tagliatelle and Amritsari fish and chips, the latter with Punjabi spice coating. I also see prawn tacos and a tempting egg curry truffle risotto.

I order several recommended dishes. Rather than regale you here, I would prefer you visit and try for yourself, suffice to say you will not be disappointed. The traditional dishes have been given a more modern presentation and a touch of class, whilst the new dishes will certainly delight the more adventurous among us. I must highlight the aloo tikki burger and butter chicken panini as worthy of attention!

I bid my farewell and briefly reflect, relaunches are a sensitive beast, particularly those affecting successful timeless restaurants as reinvention can create confusion, alienating regulars, However, I am delighted to note that Bollywood bistro, I am confident, will not be one of those. The newly created identity is both a welcome facelift to the original and totally on trend. I look forward to my next visit and when I relocate permanently, to becoming a Bollywood Bistro regular! This might well be my new best of both worlds!


Chris is a former Michelin Guide Inspector who following an international career in hospitality spanning 30 years in both the Middle East and Asia, has now settled in Thailand and contributes a monthly restaurant column.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

* (Not Hotmail/Outlook)
CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Landowners step up for new Kathu-Srisoonthorn road

More roads is not a solution. More and better public transport is and the taxi cartel rules all on ...(Read More)


China cities under heavy policing after protests

China's gi-normous aging population would be rotting in the streets as corpses had they not done...(Read More)


Bid for more drinking hours fails

...coupled with a fatalist belief system and rampant, almost unchecked capitalism worship makes fo...(Read More)


Bid for more drinking hours fails

It's not the education system, it is a evolutionary survival mode for the tropical brain which...(Read More)


Bid for more drinking hours fails

Huh? Reducing drunk drivers by 30% to 50 % might not reduce fatalities.." ? Hope that is an e...(Read More)


Raise your guard against dangerous new COVID wave, government warns

I'm wearing a mask, too- likely will do so forever. Other people's respiration- well it&#...(Read More)


Bid for more drinking hours fails

Of course it counts for the Phuket transport mafia as well. Seen the number of official taxi parking...(Read More)


Bid for more drinking hours fails

Anyway, the Patong Republic, with private business Rulers go their own sweet opening hours time. The...(Read More)


Raise your guard against dangerous new COVID wave, government warns

Since every tourist that has been let in never wears a mask under any circumstances, even tough stil...(Read More)


Landowners step up for new Kathu-Srisoonthorn road

Why not if others can. Private roads can't be built any worse than all the others. Phuket need...(Read More)