Bombay Beat goes on as third-generation restaurateur sets up in Murray Bridge
His father-in-law was an executive chef in New Delhi, and his grandfather served 1000 people a day in a tiny eatery outside Mumbai. Now it's Jitender Soodan's turn.
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He has cooked for royalty and received a rave review from one of Australia’s harshest food critics – now Harry Oberoi and his family have opened a restaurant in Murray Bridge.
Bombay Beat was the name of the Melbourne restaurant Mr Oberoi and his wife Shubjit ran for many years in trendy Hawthorn.
He still has a clipping of critic Stephen Downes’ review, which described it as “a restaurant that’s hard to beat”.
“Our restaurant revolved around good food, we treated people very fairly, and we didn’t want anything substandard on any plate,” Harry said.
“I wanted my staff to work in a good place where they could tell people proudly, ‘I work at Harry’s place’.”
The original Bombay Beat has faded into history, but an echo can now be heard at 55 Bridge Street, Murray Bridge.
Jitender Soodan – Harry’s son-in-law – opened a new restaurant by the same name there last Saturday.
It was the culmination of three generations of his family’s passion for Indian cuisine and hospitality.
It all started with Harry’s father, who grew up near Lahore – now part of Pakistan – but was forced to flee into India, with only a suitcase of belongings, after the border came crashing down in 1947.
Originally a pharmacist, he needed a new line of work and chose to start up a 30-seat restaurant in the highway village of Kasara.
Before long he was serving 1000 Punjabi-style meals a day.
“He had a limited menu, but everything was made every day from scratch,” his son recalled.
In turn, Harry – infused with an interest in food – grew up to become an executive chef at Hyatt hotels in Dubai and New Delhi, serving the likes of the Sultan of Brunei and catering to banquets for thousands of people.
But when the time came for him and Shubjit to raise their own children, they realised they needed a change of pace.
That prompted their move to Australia, and to Melbourne, where together they ran the original Bombay Beat for many years.
More recently, they have dedicated their time to helping the next generation – including their daughter’s husband.
The seed that later became the new Bombay Beat was planted when Jitender visited Murray Bridge a while ago and looked for a decent Indian meal.
“I thought it was such a big town, there had to be a good Indian restaurant,” he said.
He was unimpressed with what he found, but – given his background as the owner-operator of several successful businesses in the Mid North – figured he could do something about it.
When 55 Bridge Street became vacant, he decided to take the plunge.
The result is something Murray Bridge has not seen before: an upscale Indian restaurant with authentic tandoori cooking, stylish decor and an extensive selection of wine, gin and cocktails.
The pakoras are incredible, the tandoori lamb chops are full of flavour, and the butter chicken and naan – the measure of any Indian eatery – are simply delicious.
Behind the bar is an extensive selection of wines, gins and other spirits; there is Indian lager beer on tap; and cocktails are $15 every night.
What’s more, the ambience and service will transport you away to a hidden world while you eat, drink and talk the night away with friends, family or workmates.
Experience the best taste.
Experience Bombay Beat.
The new restaurant is open for dinner from 5-11pm six nights a week at 55 Bridge Street, Murray Bridge.
Make a reservation or order a takeaway meal by calling 8513 4108 or visiting www.bombaybeat.com.au.