Brunch is a weekend favourite, allowing you to sleep in and get your breakfast fix too. With long line-ups at favourite brunch spots, it can be a bit tricky to find a spot to meet up. Luckily for us, Calgary has a new brunch option, with an international flair. You had better check it out soon, before it too has waitlists and queues…
"...dishes are traditionally based, thoughtfully executed, and artfully plated"
In the district of Kensington, Bombay Tiger recently opened in October of 2023. It is the sister restaurant to Mumbai Local (see article here), an innovative Indian restaurant on Canmore’s quaint main street. I’ve long been a fan of Mumbai Local’s creative flavours and modern interpretations of Indian dishes. Now, Calgary has one of Chef Prasad Patil’s restaurants to indulge in. It serves brunch and dinner (both exceptional) Like its mountain counterpart, Bombay Tiger continues the exploration of modern Indian cuisine. Chef Prasad’s dishes are traditionally based, thoughtfully executed, and artfully plated. The food hosts such an array of colours, textures, and inspiring flavours. This philosophy of food has been creatively translated into an unconventional Indian offering; brunch.
Brunch Menu Highlights
Indian cuisine might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of meeting up for brunch, but after trying Bombay Tiger, this may be the first destination you suggest. The brunch menu offers traditional favourites with international twists (and the dinner menu is equally delicious)... Dosa Waffles
Dosas are a traditional Southern Indian dish. They are crispy savoury crepes made of lentil and rice flours (meaning they are gluten free). The dosa waffles use the same crispy batter in a waffle maker, and come with various toppings like fried tandoori spiced chicken.
Beautifully fluffy tandoor cooked naan wrapped around different fillings. Our favourite was the creamy fenugreek chicken. The portion size is very generous!
Indian bennies? Yep, and they are fantastic. The chef told me how he worked on coming up with a hollandaise sauce that incorporated Indian ingredients. He landed on getting the tanginess you would associate with a traditional hollandaise from pickled raw mango instead of the traditional vinegar reduction and hint of lemon. It is very creative and equally as delicious. We tried the “Bombay Tiger Benny” which had braised spicy lamb shoulder. This dish is a winner. And, to remain consistent with the theme, their bennies are served on baby naan (impossibly cute).
Shakshuka A dish of poached eggs imbedded in a flavour packed stew with Middle Eastern and North African roots.
Have more of a sweet tooth? You won’t be disappointed. We indulged in the coconut and jaggery (golden unrefined palm or cane sugar) pancakes and the brûléed French toast scented with cardamom. Drinks Bombay Tiger’s drink game is on point. There were loads of intriguing breakfast cocktails, but we let their experienced bartender make us some mocktails. I am a sucker for a mocktail, and these were equally beautiful and tasty.
There were so many other things on the menu I plan to try next time. I highly recommend heading here with a group of people and consider sharing so you can sample even more.
Born in Mumbai, Chef Prasad Patil’s extensive industry career imparts a world of knowledge, from his education in Goa, Indian to his immersion in Calgary’s restaurant scene (with nostalgic icons like Sugo and Q Haute Cuisine). He said that while he worked in classical restaurants (like Italian and French), he found himself craving Indian flavours, so this is what he would cook for himself. Despite a busy life in restaurant kitchens, he said he still found time to cook dinner for himself 350 days out of the year. I don’t work a restaurant job and I still don’t find myself having the time or energy to cook at home nearly this often. This constant experimentation and cooking of nostalgic recipes at home has translated into Chef Prasad’s philosophy of food. He highlights lesser known regional specialities that he says vary vastly throughout the country and different households. Chef Prasad says he likes to cook different dishes, as opposed to the most common ones like Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala.
Butter Chicken vs. Tikka Masala; Are they Authentic?
Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala are often diners go-to’s when ordering Indian food. But are they even traditional Indian dishes? The answer is yes in origin, but they are both the new kids on the block. Butter Chicken is believed to have been invented in Delhi in the 1920’s at a restaurant called Moti Mahal, possibly originating when a sauce was made to use up leftover tandoor chicken. Many claim to have created Tikka Masala, but popular thought is that it was initially served in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1970’s, when a customer complained their chicken was too dry and needed sauce. Whatever their origins, both dishes are historically very recent additions to Indian cooking and their popularity is undeniable.
"Indian brunch is a fresh new take on a popular meal in Calgary’s saturated food scene."
So, what does Chef Prasad Patil try to share with guests beyond Butter Chicken? He cooks dishes that evoke his upbringing in Mumbai and incorporate local Albertan ingredients. Every dish on the menu has a story and is deeply personal to the Chef, whether they are Maharashtrian (the state Mumbai/Bombay* is located in) recreations of dishes from his childhood or kitchen experimentations. And how did Bombay Tiger end up serving the unconventional Indian meal of brunch? Because Chef Prasad misses eating Indian breakfast and, because no one else is doing it! Indian brunch is a fresh new take on a popular meal in Calgary’s saturated food scene.
Next time you are wondering where to head for brunch (or dinner for that matter), Bombay Tiger is a must. Chef Prasad’s creative menu has lots to offer, from sweet to savoury. This restaurant definitely has its own unique niche of Indian-inspired brunch. Menu items like the pickled raw mango hollandaise Eggs Benedict on mini naan showcase the fusions of Indian dishes with traditional brunch favourites. Bombay Tiger showcases a vast array of regional Indian specialities and flavours. My dad said the whole meal gave him a “greater appreciation for Indian food”, as Chef Prasad’s cuisine goes so much further beyond Butter Chicken.
*Bombay is the anglicized name for Mumbai, which was renamed back to Mumbai in 1995. Both “Bombay” and “Mumbai” are used to refer to the city today.