Know the story behind Bandra Bhai, a London cocktail bar inspired by Mumbai's 1970s era!
Travelling 7000 km, Mumbai’s culture has found a new base at London's Bandra Bhai. Full of spectacular trinkets, foreign liquor and kitschy upholstery, Bandra Bhai is an ironic tribute to Mumbai’s underground operations in the yesteryears. The restaurant stands as a dimly lit, groovy basement spot, and it looks straight out of a vintage photobook
A tongue-in-cheek tribute to Mumbai's 1970s era
Seated in the heart of Fitzrovia, Bandra Bhai is set through a hidden doorway in the basement of Pahli Hill [nice touch, right?!] restaurant, on Mortimer Street. Operational only in the evenings, this cocktail bar is essentially a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Mumbai's 1970s era. BB also offers regional Indian plates, inspired by the home kitchens of Mumbai.
As the story goes, until the early 90s, India was a closed economy and Bandra was an old, predominantly Catholic fishing village in Bombay. Limited utility items were available for purchase and imported goods were scarce.
This created a thriving black market and a band of smugglers, often referred to as Bhai in Hindi, could get you everything - think exotic malt whisky, gold watches, Japanese televisions and more. These bhais usually had humble fronts for their dodgy, all-cash dealings.
Well, Bandra Bhai in London encapsulates exactly that, with beautifully dark and maximalist interiors. The bar successfully manages to give off a gaudy Mumbai vibe with velvet sofas, golden chandeliers, leopard-print pillows, a life-size peacock and posters of moustachioed men.
From the vibrant ambience to a diverse menu, Bandra Bhai offers a symphony of Indian flavours, showcasing diversity with Kulcha, Grilled Lamb Cutlets and Tandoori Sourdough Roti on the menu. Moving on to the bar menu, the restaurant boasts a selection of carefully crafted cocktails, that complement Indian cuisine perfectly. Follow Bandra Bhai’s Instagram handle for more updates.