Orders in Atlanta: Cafe Bombay on Briarcliff

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“Since the pandemic, (catering) has totally ceased,” said Walia, an Amritsar native who moved to Atlanta in 1983 after marrying his wife, Romila Ahluwalia. (The couple’s son, Ricky, owns the Masti restaurant in Toco Hills.)

“There were no weddings,” he said. “Everything was either moved to next year or cancelled.”

Yet Café Bombay’s daily lunch and dinner operations have not faltered. “We never closed for a day,” Walia said. “We just made sure our staff were protected.”

When the pandemic forced restaurants to close their dining rooms, Cafe Bombay began offering takeout exclusively. Business fell by more than 60%.

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Goan prawn curry is seen here with an order of naan from Cafe Bombay. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Goan prawn curry is seen here with an order of naan from Cafe Bombay.  Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

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Goan prawn curry is seen here with an order of naan from Cafe Bombay. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Towards the end of May, about a month after Governor Brian Kemp authorized the resumption of dine-in service, Cafe Bombay reopened its dining room and patio, taking care to follow distancing and privacy protocols. mask. “Slowly, slowly, slowly the customers came back,” Walia said.

Yet a large portion of Cafe Bombay’s sales are takeout: 80% to 85%. And, more than half of those transactions are done through delivery apps, Walia said. Indeed, when I dropped by on Wednesday evening to pick up an order I had called in, plastic bags full of orders had been laid out near the cash register, awaiting pickup. Walia told me most of the night’s sales were for delivery.

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A customer picks up a takeaway order at Cafe Bombay on Briarcliff Road, where the lunchtime steam tables are empty, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

A customer picks up a takeaway order at Cafe Bombay on Briarcliff Road, where the lunchtime steam tables are empty, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.  Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

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A customer picks up a takeaway order at Cafe Bombay on Briarcliff Road, where the lunchtime steam tables are empty, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Cafe Bombay does not have an official mask policy for customers, but Walia says 90-95% of customers arrive wearing masks.

Like most restaurateurs, he takes things day by day. “I don’t see any change until the end of this year, or until the vaccine comes out.”

For now, that means no buffet plates laden with chicken tikka and palak paneer (spinach and cheese). “I get phone calls every day,” Walia said, “but I tell them, I’m sorry, I can’t do the buffet, because of restrictions and because of COVID.”

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BOMBAY COFFEE

Menu: North India, full menu

Alcohol: Yes

What I ordered: aloo tikki chole, chicken 65, Goan prawn curry, goat biryani, lamb kebab, two orders of naan. The food was good and good value: Portions were more than generous. I particularly enjoyed the chicken 65 and the biryani. I’ll never know about the aloo tikki chole (potato fritters) as they weren’t in my bag when I got home. However, a container of cucumber raita, which I did not order, was. The manager told me on a follow-up call that he would address the oversight and tell his riders to check takeout orders.

Service options: dinner in; take-out or delivery via UberEats, Postmates, Grubhub and DoorDash

Security protocols: follows CDC guidelines

Address, phone: 2615 Briarcliff Road NE, Atlanta; 404-320-0229

Hours: 11:30am-10pm Monday to Thursday, 11:30am-11pm Friday, 12pm-11pm Saturday, 12pm-10pm Sunday

Website: cafebombayatlanta.com

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