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The new Indian restaurant in London that feels like Bombay
In the Mayfair neighbourhood, the new restaurant designed by Fabled Studio is a tribute to India’s popular culture
How do I bring a bit of India to London? With an Indian restaurant in Mayfair! Inspired by the Dabbawalas, the Bombay Bustle by Fabled Studio takes Asia’s cuisine, tradition, and architecture to the heart of the British capital. The Dabbawalas are the network of local carriers that every day deliver lunches to office workers. A system that since 1885 has fed the city’s working class with affordable home-made-flavoured meals. It largely relied on public transportation, trains in particular, to reach every corner of the city from the outskirts and the countryside.
As a tribute to this effort, Bombay Bustle decided to draw inspiration, on the one hand, from the old carriages of Indian trains, the first of which was built by the British during colonial times, and, on the other, from the art deco style of the country’s theatres. The ground floor dining room houses a pewter bar on a terrazzo floor reminiscent of a first-class railway coach. The whimsical green and lilac colours of the upholstery of chairs and sofas, which clash with the pink clay plaster walls, recall instead the interiors of early cinemas. The tables are numbered with the typical characters of the Dabbawalas, provided to the restaurant directly by the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association.
The basement of the Indian restaurant is inspired by the retiring rooms of Indian stations: screens in shining glass and a timber-panelled ceiling, with a dessert bar with seating available. On the walls, plenty of works by Indian artists, like Nandan Purkayastha, famous for his caricatures, or Nilofer Suleman, whose paintings recreate the pulsating atmosphere of Bombay’s streets.
Tom Strother, co-founder and creative director of Fabled Studio, explains the project as follows: “Our concept for the design behind Bombay Bustle is a pastel-hued nostalgic look to the past of Bombay collided with the vibrancy and bustle of modern day Mumbai. The design carefully mismatches a palette of fine patterns drawing upon various imaginative and unusual elements that reflect the organised chaos of the Mumbai network of Dabbawalas. We were particularly inspired by the spirit of the network’s railway carriages and the local hidden canteens of Mumbai and New Delhi.”
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