Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bombay Bistro Celebrates 25th Anniversary

From our friends at Bombay Bistro...

Family-Owned & Operated Bombay Bistro Celebrates 25 Years in Rockville, Maryland with a Design Refresh & Anniversary-Inspired Menus & Specials Throughout 2017

Bombay Bistro (98 West Montgomery Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850; (301) 762-8798;; @BombayBistroMD) - long celebrated and critically-acclaimed for offering authentic Northern and Southern Indian cuisine in Rockville, MD - is celebrating its 25th Anniversary throughout 2017. To help commemorate this significant culinary milestone, the notable family-owned and operated restaurant will be offering a variety of anniversary-inspired menus, events, throwback specials, and is also undergoing a design refresh, but will remain open to the public throughout the renovation and refresh process.

The very first restaurant to open from dynamic culinary duo and hospitality veterans Executive Chef K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman, Bombay Bistro opened in the heart of Rockville, MD in Montgomery County in the winter of 1992 and received an overwhelming welcome from DC area diners - often greeted with a packed parking lot and extensive lines and waits - as a result of serving as one of the first Indian restaurants offering guests a taste of authentic Northern and Southern Indian cuisine in an eclectic and vibrant setting.

A true family affair, Chef K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman’s families have been all hands on deck since the restaurant opening - including sons Sahil Rahman and Rahul Vinod - with the women from both sides heavily involved in overseeing the FOH and all creative and design elements for the interior and while working with an almost non existent budget. Both families signed on and were completely submerged and committed to the project including Nandita Madan - Surfy Rahman’s sister-in-law - who was particularly instrumental at the restaurant during the pre-opening phases sharing her unique sense of creativity and style by using fragmented bangles and other pieces of Indian jewelry from her own collection to create one-of-a-kind murals, and even some of her nieces and nephews beautiful traditional clothing of which was displayed on the walls toward the entrance of the restaurant. Nandita has continued that tradition for the last 25 years through all of Vinod and Rahman’s culinary ventures - including at Indique in Cleveland Park in Washington, DC which also recently underwent a refresh and relaunch - and also remains on the management team. Both Vinod and Rahman’s wives - Nisha Vinod & Madhavi Rahman - have also contributed to the success of all culinary ventures throughout the past 25 years, and now their children - Rahul Vinod & Sahil Rahman - who have both returned to the DC area recently, also continue to assist the “Dad’s” with operations and upkeep for all of Vinod and Rahman’s restaurants, with plans to open their own fast-casual eatery - Rasa Grill - this year.

“America, being the land of opportunity, inspired us to do our own restaurant together”, said Chef K.N. Vinod and Surfy Rahman, partners and co-owners of Bombay Bistro. “Getting investors, especially for starting our first restaurant was really tough. We met with several banks with no luck, thus leaving us to raise the funds ourselves essentially through us dipping into our savings, family loans, and credit cards. Unfortunately there just wasn't anything like Go Fund Me or Kickstarter when we were looking to open Bombay Bistro. The process for Bombay Bistro began when we started our search looking for old restaurants, most of which were going out of business, so we could avoid having to handle the costs for the construction of a restaurant built from the ground up because we just didn’t have access to that kind of money. We searched for restaurants all over the DMV - Gaithersburg, Rockville, Arlington, Tyson’s, DC, etc - and finally found a cozy little place in Rockville. At the time, the space was occupied by a Greek restaurant, which the owner had created for his children, but after learning that they were not interested in the business, he made the decision to sell. Once we decided this was the space, we literally put every nickel and dime we had into purchasing the business. We told our respective wives that because of the riskiness of the restaurant business; they should keep their current day jobs as a backup plan. We used the majority of our funds in buying the business so we did not have much money leftover to invest in the décor of the restaurant or even buy any specialized equipment like a Tandoor, etc. Thankfully our decision paid off, and we never had to look back after the opening as we were able to manage our expenses and were so very grateful and humbled to receive such an overwhelmingly positive response from both diners and glowing reviews from local dining critics within a very short period which helped us erase any outstanding debt. Bombay Bistro was created with a genuine desire to represent Indian Cuisine in a more approachable and passionate manner, rather than serving mediocre Indian food with the assumption that the target audience does not know or understand authentic Indian cuisine. Looking back at the past 25 years, it’s such an honor for us as a family to have made it to where we are today as unfortunately very few restaurants have the opportunity to celebrate this many years service. It has been such an amazing journey to see the DC area evolve into such a powerhouse of a dining scene. To help prepare for the next 25 years and beyond, we are taking some time to update every aspect of the restaurant including the décor, and menus, but without removing the foundation for which Bombay Bistro was built on.”

Surfy Rahman and Chef Vinod are both graduates of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Calcutta and Madras, respectively. After graduating with their Hotel Management degrees, they both joined the India Tourism Development Corporation (also known as the Ashok Group of Hotels) as Management Trainees in New Delhi, India, of which is where the dynamic hospitality duo first met. As management trainees, Vinod opted for the back of house (kitchen) and Surfy opted for the front of house (food & beverage.) The Ashok Group was the largest hotel chain in India at the time and organized various food festivals around the world, showcasing Indian culture and cuisine. Vinod was selected to represent the country of India at various food festivals abroad (Singapore, Malaysia, etc) and it was at one of these food festivals that sparked his journey to the U.S. In 1985, for the Festival of India, organized in conjunction with the Smithsonian, Vinod led a team of 22 cooks and 4 sous chefs to represent India in Washington, DC. Following the festival, Vinod went back to India but returned to the U.S. a few months later to work for a small chain of Indian restaurants located in Washington, DC. Surfy also arrived in the U.S. in 1985, looking for more exciting opportunities and a better life. It was by coincidence that Vinod and Rahman arrived in the US the same year and Surfy also secured a job working for the same employer who owned several Indian restaurants in the DMV. Vinod and Surfy then became housemates for a number of years while working for this employer and their friendship and mutual respect for each other developed and eventually evolved into a conversation about opening a restaurant together in partnership. It was around the same time that Vinod met his life partner Nisha and they were married in 1987. Surfy’s fiancé who was in New Delhi, joined him in Washington, DC and they were married in March 1988.

Comparing menus, many of the signature dishes featured on the original opening/launch menus remain popular today including the Chicken Tikka Makhani, Tandoori Chicken, and Masala Dosa, while newer menu items such as the Mussels cooked with garlic, white wine, coconut milk and curry leaves, and Chicken Niligiri Khorma continue to excite and delight guests - old and new. Loyal guests still venture to Bombay Bistro to enjoy their weekend brunch buffet, which includes the restaurants popular Whole Bluefish dish, and extremely popular Kulfi served with a warm orange sauce. And in celebrating a quarter of a century, Bombay Bistro has had the pleasure of serving many families - three and in some cases four generations - have and continue to enjoy Bombay Bistro’s food.

In addition, as a true testament to the power of outstanding leadership under owners Chef Vinod and Surfy Rahman, several integral FOH and BOH original staff members who helped open Bombay Bistro in 1992 including Chef Venkateswaran Iyer, Mr. Somanath Pokharel, and Mr. Santos Cabrera, to name a few, have remained as the foundation for Bombay Bistro’s continued success.

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary, Bombay Bistro will be offering an Anniversary-inspired 3-Course prix fixe menu - available for dinner service only including one glass of wine - priced at just $25 per person offered now throughout 2017. In addition, to commemorate the quarter century anniversary celebration, Bombay Bistro will also be offering their popular lunch buffet for the same price they charged when they first opened in 1992 - $5.95 - available every Thursday in connection with #ThrowbackThursday. Bombay Bistro has also updated and launched their new dinner menu (attached) including signature favorites while adding several new dishes as the celebrated restaurants begins it's next chapter in Rockville, MD. The team at Bombay Bistro is also celebrating the generations of regulars that have helped support them over the past 25 years by creating a polaroid picture wall where regular guests are able to take a picture and leave a message about their experiences dining at Bombay Bistro throughout the years. Details regarding additional anniversary-themed specials and events will be announced in the near future.

Visit for the full 3-course, 25th anniversary prix fixe menu.

Bombay Bistro is open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, brunch Saturday and Sunday noon - 3:00 PM, and dinner Sunday through Thursday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM, and Friday and Saturday 5:00 - 10:30 PM. For additional information on Bombay Bistro or the 25 Anniversary-inspired menus and specials, please visit