Bombay Darbar, the intimate Coconut Grove restaurant known for its authentic Indian cuisine, is targeting a larger spot.
Coconut Grove Grapevine reported the upcoming move, and the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District confirmed Bombay Darbar will take over the space formerly occupied by TK's at Villa Mayfair, located at 2901 Florida Ave. in Coconut Grove.
Bombay Darbar opened in 2010 and quickly became a sleeper hit among Miami residents. In a 2010 review in New Times, food critic Lee Klein called the restaurant a "delightful breath of fresh air," and it was named Best Indian Restaurant by New Times in 2011. For the past few years, the small, 34-seat restaurant clearly outgrew its current location, with patrons waiting upward of an hour to dine on a weekend.
Bombay Darbar's owner, who prefers to be known simply as Danny, says the main reason for the move is to please his customers and staff. "I'm not after making more money. The main concern is comfort for my kitchen staff and to make sure every customer is satisfied regarding cost, comfort, and quality. Everybody has to be happy. That's the main goal."
Danny says customers have complained about long waits at the current Commodore Plaza location, some even choosing to go elsewhere for dinner. His kitchen staff was also cramped into small quarters, making it difficult to work. Danny says the Florida Avenue spot will solve those problems. The 200-seat restaurant comes with a gigantic state-of-the-art kitchen, which was the main draw for Bombay Darbar's owner. "The kitchen is a paradise for any chef. It's like a dream come true for the kitchen staff and for me."
Danny also likes the opulent decor, but he'll do a little cosmetic work. "It's a very beautiful place, but I'll put mirrors on the wall and add tapestry and wood carvings to make it look Indian."
The menu will remain the same, but a larger kitchen means more exploration of flavors in the future. Danny plans to introduce some South Indian dishes and breakfast service. He also might obtain a full liquor license for parties and large groups, although he plans to stick to beer and wine for regular meal service.
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He'll get the keys to the new space April 1 and expects the relocation to take a few months. In the meantime, his current 34-seater will remain open. "We're closed Tuesdays, so I would like to close the old restaurant Monday after dinner and reopen Wednesday at the new location."
He also stresses that without his customers, this growth would not be possible. "I want to thank all our customers for their support. We try very hard, and I would like to personally thank everyone who comes into the restaurant."
TK's at Villa Mayfair ended its run a few weeks ago with a message on its website stating, "TK's at Villa Mayfair has closed. Thank you to all our patrons over the years. We appreciate your business and are sorry to close our doors." An email to the restaurant's PR rep yielded no response as to why TK's shuttered. The restaurant opened in 2011 as Villa Mayfair Restaurant & Lounge, with owner Timo Kipp hiring executive chef Frederic Joulin and interior designer François Frossard to spearhead the project. Joulin is now chef/owner of Semilla in South Beach. TK's at Villa Mayfair opened, closed, and changed names several times over the past few years, revising the menu to reflect the tastes of the neighborhood and even trying an extensive mojito menu to lure customers.