Per Your Recommendation: Indian Cuisine And Community Spirit Make Bombay To Burgh A Welcome Addition
The Swissvale eatery focuses on eclectic dishes from around India.
(Per Your Recommendation is a new, regular column about the eateries you hold dear. From swanky spots and roadside diners to neighborhood gems and gotta-try food trucks, I want to taste everything the Pittsburgh region has to offer. Pub grub, ethnic cuisine, fine dining, takeout — it’s all “fare” game. Please email your suggestions to email@example.com.)
After 15 years helming corporate kitchens around the world, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Chef Gaurav Navin is docking his gastronomic dream in Swissvale. Thanks for the head’s up, Joylette!
In October, he opened Bombay to the Burgh at 1814 S. Braddock Ave., near Edgewood Towne Centre, replacing a bar with an eatery specializing in Indian food. Hours are 4 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
“Back home in India, community is the No. 1 thing,” says Navin, who came to Pittsburgh in 2018 to work for Carnegie Mellon University. “I want to try and be very affordable and welcoming, for the service to be hospitable and the food to be as highly nutritious and delicious as possible.”
Gleaning inspiration from his global travels and the expertise of fellow Chef Kasi Vishwanath, the ever-evolving menu, although small, is an exploration of the different regions and flavors of Southeast Asia. Bringing Bombay to Pittsburgh is their collective passion and vasudhaiva kutumbakam, which translates to “the world is one family” is their motto.
Through the restaurant’s Share the Blessings initiative, which launched during the holiday season, guests who are facing financial difficulty can get a complimentary meal in the safe and inviting space that Navin designed himself. A wooden decoration featuring a bridge connecting Bombay to Pittsburgh is similar to Tacosburgh’s mural uniting Mexico City and The City of Champions.
I’ve had my share of vindaloo and tikka masala at some other great Indian spots around town. I didn’t see anything I recognized on Bombay to Burgh’s current menu, but the enticing scents wafting from the kitchen reassured me that my options were a safe bet. All dishes are made to a medium spice level, but can be adjusted to suit individual tastes. Dietary restrictions are also taken into consideration when Vishwanath is preparing the food with fresh ingredients and spices.
“We want our guests to feel absolutely at home here,” Navin says. “We take a lot of feedback and are constantly putting that feedback to work. Indian cuisine is so diverse with all of its different regions and spices. You can’t put it all on the menu at one time.”
Our meal started with fryums, deep-fried star-shaped snacks made with tapioca and rice flour available on every table. My girlfriend and I shared dahi kabab, which was lightly breaded and pan-seared with hung yogurt, nuts, raisins, spices and mint.
My entree was a paneer/vegetarian moilee with cashews, peas, carrots, beans, onion-tomato-coconut gravy and spices. Paired with a bowl of rice and tandoor-cooked, cilantro-and-garlic butter naan, it filled me up quickly, but I still stole a few bites from my girlfriend’s plate of mushroom garlic masala.
Although the spices weren’t overwhelming, it felt good to cool down my mouth with a mango lassi, a glass of mango pulp whipped with churned yogurt, saffron and spices. A small bag of mint-flavored, sugar-coated fennel seeds come with each check to act as a digestive aid and breath freshener.
Bombay to Burgh has seating for 44 guests, and Navin makes a point to stop at every table to check in on his customers, many of whom are now regulars who drop by to eat and peruse a small library of books about Indian food and culture.
This spring, Navin hopes to partner with local farms and purveyors to offer fresh produce and products along with traditional Indian flavors. In the meantime, he’s gearing up for a six-course, prix-fixe Valentine’s Day dinner on Feb. 14 featuring a welcome spritzer, an Indian take on shrimp and grits, kosambari, kolkata chicken chaap, lamb rogan josh and tawa sweets parfait. A vegetarian version will also be available. Romantics can reserve their spot by calling 724-915-7170.
Consider it a culinary love letter from Bombay to the ‘burgh.