Bar Bombay Yacht Club | Melbourne City List


The verdict

The Bar Bombay Yacht Club is the latest masterpiece from famed Indian chef Jessi Singh. The lively restaurant and bar serves exotic cuisine from the Far East and was inspired by Singhi’s newfound love of sailing. It’s all about fun food and cocktails, and after the past two years of lockdown, that’s a welcome change.

The menu is inspired by the coastal cuisine of Eastern countries; India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, so you can expect fresh seafood infused with rich spices. There’s lobster in a Sri Lankan chilli sambal sauce, crab biryani in a coconut sambal, and bright red jumbo prawns in a green chilli butter. Besides the lush food, classic cocktails with a twist, inspired by the British bars that were found along the ports of these East Asian countries. There’s even a mini cocktail menu serving martinis and negronis for $10, so if you can’t choose one, you can try them all. If you need another reason to leave work early, there’s also a daily happy hour where you can grab a skillfully mixed cocktail for $5.

Bar Bombay Yacht Club is a haven where everyone is welcome to escape the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Step off the sidewalk and be transported to the ocean. There’s an endless sunset shining through a light box that overlooks the bar, a swirling blue marble pattern on the floor, and lush green velvet everywhere you look. Everything is inspired by the colors you would see looking out of an airplane window over the Great Barrier Reef or around Tasmania. And if you pay attention, you might even notice cheeky design statements from Singh himself.

Until 1947 in India, signs hung above British bars stating that Indians and dogs were not allowed inside. So Singh decided to hang posters of the former rulers of India; “Now they see brown people owning a yacht club where everyone is welcome to come and have a drink,” he laughs. The venue also pays homage to its former incarnation as a wine bar, with an on-site take-out cellar.

The Bar Bombay Yacht Club adds another venue to the restaurateur’s repertoire alongside his daughter-in-law and Mr Brownie, and is built on the site of his former venue Mrs Singh, which was forced to close during the lockdowns.

“It was the hardest thing in two years. I’ve been in this business for thirty years and I never thought this could happen,” Singh says.

Born and raised in America, and with venues in New York and California, Singh has been hit hard by COVID-19. “I lost a lot of good friends, bosses, ex-employees, employees…it was very hard”. He wiped out thirty years of savings trying to keep the place afloat, while opening his arms to anyone who needed help.

Singh graciously welcomed people into his Melbourne home and restaurants without hesitation; “Every day there were 15 people sleeping on the floor of my house.” When a hospital offered him a contract to take care of its staff, he did so for free. Singh partnered with his colleagues and they used their expertise to give back to the community.

Struggling with his own sanity after losing more than 100 people, Singh began to navigate. For Singh, being on the water was a lifesaver. Her favorite part was enjoying the sunsets.

It was during this time that he began to discover the exclusive world of members-only yacht clubs – high-profile places where only certain people could join. It inspired him to build his own yacht club in the heart of our city.

Bar Bombay Yacht Club is a place where you don’t need to be a member to have a drink, anyone can come in and enjoy the endless sunset.

It is a place built out of survival, for a city that has struggled for two years. “Hospitality is the only thing I know…I’m not going to give up on Melbourne and I’m not going to give up on hospitality,” Singh said.

If you are looking for quality exotic cuisine, with the magic touch for which Singh has become famous, then Bar Bombay Yacht Club is the place for you. It’s dedicated to the people of Melbourne, and Jessi Singh’s love for this city shines through every part of the menu, design and service.

Image credit: Michael Oulton


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