The Bombay Cricketers Club carries its pedigree proudly.
“When you step inside the Bombay Cricketer’s Club you are transported to a British-inspired, plantation-style Indian oasis,” the website tells us.
Founded by Mark Wilson, Lia Mason and Lee Middendorf (ex-Spice Den, Osteria, Taverna and Ancora), the Northern Rivers restaurateurs with the Midas touch, it also relies heavily on an age-old tradition: cricket clubs.
They’re the pavilions of ‘triumphs and defeats, upheavals and independence’, scattered across the east in far-flung exotic places. The gathering places of the elite expat community, one of the last bastions along the spice trails of Asia carrying the mark of colonisation, membership was for males only, their women (by default) permitted to shelter away from the heat of the day with a gin and tonic in hand.
“The text of cricket is the text of the society of which it is a part,” says David Fraser in ‘Cricket and the law…’, emphasising that the text of cricket was not only about gender but also about geography, class and race.
No such agenda at the Bombay Cricketers Club! Bombay’s use of ‘the club’ is inspirational for its plantation-styled setting and subcontinental-inspired cuisine only.
“This modern social hub, with a custom-built timber bar as the central meeting point, calls out for long lunches, social gatherings and impressive food and wine experiences.”
This we can appreciate!
It’s for one such social gathering that we dine at Bombay, celebrating the Taste Tweed Festival in a Goa vs Tweed lunch.
Chef Andy Melville presents us with a special menu of items inspired by the cuisine of the west coast of India, made with produce from the local Tweed area, listed on the flip side of the menu:
A bowl of rich Goan crab masala with local carrot, scented with coriander, anise myrtle and the balancing acid of bush lime, too delicious to waste a drop.
Kangaroo Xacuti samosas with Davidson plum, red amaranth, beetroot relish and yoghurt.
Bangalow pork vindaloo with persimmon chutney, shards of sweet potato crisps and ‘jinga’ beer caramel.
Prawn Ambotik with zucchini, carrot, coriander and curry leaf, the four-course lunch presented with vegetable accompaniments, house-made condiments and rice.
It’s the best and freshest produce available set off handsomely on local Grit Ceramics tableware: fresh prawn and sand crabs from Northern Rivers Seafood, kangaroo sourced by Jack Spratt’s, whole suckling pig from Bangalow Sweet Pork… impeccably sourced and cooked by a master of invention.
Pulling together spices from India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Melville creates dishes that take after the original ‘in a fashion’. Exceptionally deep in both flavour and texture, this is not Indian cuisine as we have experienced it before.
As an analogy, we could say that Melville at Bombay does for Indian-inspired cuisine what Chin Chin does for Malaysian, or Will Meyrick does for Indo food. Big, bold and bursting with life…yes, it’s that good!
Joy of joys, as a share plate menu, there’s no need to miss out on anything!
One thing’s for sure… We’ll be back to sample more intriguing dishes at Bombay Cricketers Club. It’s far too good to stay away.
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