Santa Rosa may soon be at the center of a tikka masala revolution.
Nationally-recognized Indian chef Niven Patel is helming a farm-to-table menu at Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven that, even in previews, was inspired. Indian spices that line the pantry of the young chef’s pantry are meticulously sourced from a small village in the Indian state of Gujarat, Patel’s home region. This isn’t window-dressing, but a passion for ingredients that Patel has (literally) cultivated on his Florida farm, Ranchopatel including fresh turmeric, mangoes, and other Indian ingredients.
We got a preview recently, and were especially impressed by dishes like Crispy Cauliflower with paneer and pickled shitakes; Shortrib Uttapam (think savory pancake); Tumeric Marinated Rockfish with Coconut Curry — even simple chicken tikka masala is given a makeover. We’re talking game-changers here. Patel will hand over daily restaurant operations to two of his chefs de cuisine who have moved to Sonoma County from Florida.
Adding to the all-star restaurant lineup, cocktail heavy-weights Scott Beattie and Andrea Mota are going all in on Indian-inspired libations like the Bardoli Buck (vodka, raw turmeric, ginger, lime, bitters, soda) and Gujarati Swizzle (gin, elderflower, lemon, Buddah’s hand, verbena, coconut milk, ginger beer).
The Chandi Hospitality Group is behind the restaurant’s revamp, taking a very personal interest in bringing elevated Indian food and hospitality to the county. The owners of several downtown Santa Rosa restaurants were inspired by the family’s roots in the Punjab region of India as well as their experiences as California restaurateurs.
“Our foundation is rooted in the Indian concept of ‘mehmaan nawazi’, a heightened sense of hospitality and welcoming energy to all who come through our doors,” said a press release about the restaurant’s opening. Chandi Hospitality Group owns Stout Bros., Beer Baron, Bibi’s Burger Bar and the former County Bench (now Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven) as well as several Mountain Mike’s pizza restaurants.
Expect a soft launch in mid-October and a larger roll-out later in the month.
Bollywood Bar & Clay Oven, 537 4th St, Santa Rosa.