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Published September 19th 2018
Located in the heart of Glebe is a new Indian restaurant Bhoomi, presenting a combination of modern and authentic dishes in a historic building with amazing decor. Enjoying a meal here is a wonderful experience that will have you in awe. You'll be mesmerised, remembering it long after your visit, and here's why –
Striking to say the least, the minute you walk in your expectations are exceeded. Through the first entrance, a water feature on the left catches your eye whilst two large horses adorn the right as you pass down a short ramp to glass doors where you're guided to a table by a friendly waiter. This is where the true beauty sets in. I felt like I was in an underground cavern that was palace-like with its stone pillars and multiple areas, each offering guests something different.
There are fine dining areas, including the intimate and private crystal room with its chandelier, a lounge area next to a fully-stocked bar and large communal tables at the back. Down some stairs is a dark door that looks a bit mysterious and like it could lead to a dungeon but actually it is where various functions and events take place.
Features adorning these areas include hand-carved wood panels and a door imported from India, mirrors, urns, bells, birds, plants, candles and coloured lighting that is all surrounded by sandstone walls and an exposed brick ceiling.
The majority of meals are great for sharing and combine freshness in both the ingredients and the passion of the owners and head chef Chanaka Nalin Gunasekarage, who has worked closely with Michelin Star and Hatted chefs.
It was for dinner on a quiet Monday night that we dined and enjoyed the Taste of Bhoomi set menu. At $85 per person, it is top of the range and the ultimate banquet with a degustation of several entrees, a choice of mains and a dessert platter.
Coming out first was the Holi Pappadums Smoked Salmon Mousse which consisted of saffron, beetroot and green pea pappadums dotted with salmon mousse, standing in a lentil & chickpea base. The pappadums were nice and crunchy and the salmon delightfully tasty.
Next up was the Kingfish Ceviche Pani Puri – a shell of cured Kingfish in coconut cream with Indian herbs & spices and rice adorning the top. It is a typical Indian street food with the curing process making the contents salty. It was too salty for me but my husband loved it.
Following this was the Lamb Vindaloo Mini Masala Dosa, a Sri Lankan and South Indian dish. This type of crepe traditionally comes with just potatoes inside but these and the spicy lamb here went well together sitting on a bed of yoghurt and lentils with coconut-flavoured chutneys and an edible flower atop. To the side was a little silver bucket of Sambar, a lentil broth, which was delicious.
After a short break, the Scallop Papdi with Onion, Capers and Chilli came out. The tamarind chutney on the bottom held the crisps (papdi) and the curried scallops with Indian spices well. Topped with sweet yoghurt and adorned with flavoured noisettes in combination with onion, capers and chilli dust, it was a dish quite different to your usual scallops prepared in lemon garlic butter.
Tri-daali Betel Leaf Salad, a Chaat street food (savoury hors d'oeuvre) with a combination of three daals, arrived at our table next. These crispy grains with Indian spices on the Betel leaf were like eating crunchy nuts in a dip. They were a treat to the taste buds.
Ending the entrees was the Tamarind Rasam Shot, a curry shot and palate cleanser made of ground spices. We were advised it was rich and spicy hot and that it certainly was with a small tasting having me grabbing my glass of water.
Our mains to choose from were the Sri Lankan White Fish Curry, the Braised Beef Ribs and the Tandoori Lamb Rack. Hubby decided on the ribs that came nestled on Khicharee risotto and a curried beetroot mousse with chutney, pickles and micro herbs. The beef ribs were very tender, whilst the risotto and the mousse added different textures.
I went with the Sri Lankan White Fish Curry and it was a great choice. The crispy skin Kingfish fillet was cooked beautifully with the dish enhanced by aromatic Sri Lankan coconut curry, mint sambal, lotus stem chips, cherry tomatoes and tamarind. The presentation has been impeccable in all the dishes served, with this one being very pretty in the arrangement of the lotus chips. They were crispy and tasty too. The curry sauce on the side was a good idea as it was very salty.
A basket of Naan bread also came with our mains, consisting of three types – a plain traditional naan that was light and fluffy, a tasty garlic naan and a laccha (layered) naan. All were very moreish but we could only fit so much in and had to leave room for dessert. The waiter kindly wrapped the remaining naan in foil for us to take home.
Finishing off this banquet extravaganza was the Bhoomi Dessert Platter, which consisted of a mouth-watering French Chocolate Dosa with Masala banana and chocolate soil, a very refreshing Frozen Fruit Shell with passionfruit and mango ice cream, Jalebi cheesecake, mini Gulab Jamun (a sweet ball with syrup), a Sesame and Saffron biscuit, and a Sesame Jaggery Ladoo with a hint of coconut (another ball of goodness).
We were full to the brim. Should you not want such a large degustation, Bhoomi have smaller set menus as well as individual options that include dishes, such as, South Asian Momo Dumplings, Kashimiri Chilli Duck, Bird Nest Chicken Jala, Jaffna Goat Curry and King Prawn Gulmohar. These are just some of the large range of meals on the menu. Vegetarians and vegans are catered for too.
I started with a sweet Lassi – a blend of yoghurt, water, spices and fruit. The Mango & Cardamon Lassi was a charm with Bhoomi using the pulp from Alphonso mangos, considered to be among the most superior varieties of the fruit in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour.
Hubby went with a simple pineapple juice and later I followed my Lassi with the Berry Blast Mocktail of fresh berry compote, citrus and apple juice.
Like the large range of meals, the drinks list is huge too with much more than what is currently listed on their website. You can choose from signature cocktails infused with spices and ingredients found in the Indian pantry, champagne and wines of red, white & rose, soft drinks, beers, vodka & gin from various countries, tequila, rum, whiskey, scotch, cognac, ports and liqueurs/aperitifs.
Our waiter was very attentive to our needs and meals appeared in a timely manner. There were no waits that were too long.
He was also very informative, explaining that the name Bhoomi translates to Mother Earth in English and telling us how the four elements of Western culture (Earth, air, fire & water) are incorporated in the building interior and the food through the cooking techniques. It was very interesting.
All in all, this is fine dining and not your average Indian restaurant but still, prices are reasonable. It's next level and many a cut above the rest. Bhoomi is exotic India at its best.