You might remember Bollywood in their previous incarnation: as a sweaty resto-club that frequently descended into bedlam. With a decent menu, cult club nights and a superb location in the heart of the city, it was busy round the clock – so what went wrong for the original, you might ask. Basically, the building got bulldozed. But rather than acting as a fatal kick to the nuts, the wrecking ball actually signaled a new lease of life. Given two days to vacate the premises, the management saved what they could and started afresh.
As fresh starts go this is fresher than most. Moving to Nowy Świat, the team have used the opportunity to upgrade their offer: gone is that low-rent feel, replaced in favor of a more classy look and a slicker crowd. What has remained constant is the energy. Arriving on a Saturday night I find Bollywood in full swing, not just with regulars but accidental visitors who are present by chance. Crowds draw crowds and the change of location has clearly had benefits.
The place is thronged, with the whole restobar concept operating seamlessly: some tables are peppered with steaming pots of Indian food, others with elaborate cocktails and scented sheesha pipes – and some with a combination of all of the above. There are no seats, forcing the Insider to take position at the bar. There’s no problem with that, it’s a vantage point I prefer – it guarantees views of the tottering talent, and an immediate response from the lads behind the bar. And what a bar – Sebastien, the manager, cut his teeth at Sense and Essence, and this shows through in the quality of the cocktails. The Jim Ban Chili is pure dynamite, a drink that slips down with velvety ease.
Bollywood though is more than a restaurant, and more than a bar. Its third role, that of a club, is taken seriously, as proved by the status enjoyed by their former venue. Expect Bollywood 2.0 to pick up the baton – still being fitted and finessed at press time, the basement is set to hold a club area promoting the bright, banging beats of the Bollywood sound. (AW)