The beloved and long-established Bombay Express Indian restaurant is revolutionising our nation’s attitude towards Asian cuisine right here in the English Riviera.
Bombay Express has long been at the heart of Torbay’s local community, with the proprietor and his family amassing 36 years of Asian culinary excellence in the Torbay area. But it has not come easily; the success of Torquay’s leading Indian restaurant is the result of hard work, dedication, patience, and the persistence of the Uddin family.
The origins of the Uddin’s legacy go back to 1983, when the family ran the Ganges Restaurant. This was Torquay’s introduction to the taste of India, and it quickly proved popular! Due to the restaurant’s success, the Uddin’s empire began to grow, and soon they were able to open further branches in the form of Kismot restaurant in Paignton, and Shimla restaurant in Brixham.
However, the family were severely affected by the recession of 1996 and forced to sell their restaurants in a collapse they never saw coming. But their rebound was fast and to the point, as soon after they opened Gandhi Takeaway – one of the first full-delivery Indian restaurants in Preston, Paignton!
Bombay Express’ owner, Rehan Uddin, was involved with Gandhi from age 11, developing a fascination with food and a passion for bringing authentic Indian cuisine to the Bay. Even as a child, he would take phone calls, pack up takeaways, and go out on deliveries with his mother.
Unbeknown to him, this was a matter of survival, and alongside his studies at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School he happily rolled up his sleeves to aid his parents in their time of need.
The Uddin family would go on to move from Foxhole to Brixham and open Balti Nights and Balti Palace in 1999. By 2009, they would sell both and take on the Bombay Express.
Bombay Express took a huge hit in the opening year of trading, with the post-2008 recession in full swing, and Rehan taking risks with the menu that were more suited to big-city London than a smaller town. Knowledge was never a problem for him, as he was a student of the game and already had 13 years of industry experience by the age of 25.
Now, Chef Rehan is the Managing Director of the Asian Restaurant Owners Network – setting the standard for Asian restaurants nationwide, smashing the old boys club, opening the doors for inclusion, and destroying the floral carpet and velvet curtain stereotype with the YouTube show Chilli Chilli Bang Bang and the music video Aron The Way Up!
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Chef Rehan had time to evaluate his business strategy, pivot, and adapt to the coming trends for 2021. As a consequence, the Bombay Express menu was updated to include even more plant-based options – and exciting ones at that. The plant-based clientele grew, and more emphasis was placed on healthy eating and transparency of ingredients.
Rehan also chose to upgrade the interiors of his restaurant, putting a focus on health and wellbeing, and using a colonial-inspired take for the surroundings – calm, present, and ready to receive.
Being determined to work smart now and in the future, Rehan coined the phrase ‘Smart Food Dining’. This ideology focuses on where the food is from, what the health benefits of the ingredients are, and which drinks work well with each dish.
It also involves keeping things local, with Chef Rehan buying as much as he can from local producers and using a butcher and fishmonger only a stone’s throw from the restaurant.
And for you fitness enthusiasts out there, Chef Rehan has created his Gunpowder Grill section; Hyderabadi Lamb Steak, Lemon and Mustard Pepper Wings, or Shudh Shakari (marinated portobello mushroom and tender stem broccoli), served with gunpowder potatoes and a plant-based Indian Slaw.
Indian foods are well-known for their health benefits and Bombay Express uses many traditional cooking methods with roots in Ayurvedic medicine. In particular, ingredients such as curcumin, turmeric, and ginger are especially known to be brilliant immune system boosters.
So, why not join Chef Rehan as he presses on with the food revolution and welcomes a new era of health, vitality, and improved wellbeing. This truly is Smart Food Dining!