TŪMBI is a modern Indian restaurant and bar now open steps away from the ocean in the heart of Santa Monica. Drawing from the extravagant flavors and artistry of India’s cultural heritage, the new Westside eatery is taking Modern Indian cuisine to the next level with an innovative menu that combines authentic Indian street food with haute cuisine. TŪMBI is the brainchild of owner RJ Singh who was inspired by his trips through India and used his knowledge and passion about the foods he tasted during his travels to capture the best flavors from each region to create the TŪMBI menu. Together with Chef Imran Mookhi, they developed robust flavor combinations of tamarind, turmeric, and fresh herbs to transport guests on a journey reminiscent of a vibrant bazaar filled with food carts, spice stalls and sweet shops. TŪMBI’s menu draws on influences from various regions of India including Rajasthan, New Delhi, Goa and Chennai as well as the neighboring countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“I was inspired by my travels to India where I experienced every type of food from North to South,” states RJ Singh. “I sampled food from street vendors to 5-star restaurants, and each had their own unique and delicious flavor profiles. I feel diners could never experience these authentic dishes under one roof until they dine at TŪMBI. Our menu truly represents all of India.”
TŪMBI creates dishes that are visually appealing and include a variety of tandoor, pots, and kabobs mixed with fresh local ingredients. Bright, vibrant colors of yellow, orange, and purple are common in each dish and further complement TŪMBI’s hearty flavors. Each of the items on TŪMBI’s menu blend influences from an array of neighboring Indian cultures: tandoor and dosas from India; kebabs from Pakistan and Afghanistan; and seafood dishes and chutneys originating from coastal regions. The food is presented as a shared-plate experience, which is good news for diners who want to try a variety of dishes. Keeping in mind the health-conscious California diner, the majority of the TŪMBI menu is gluten free, and also features various dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and vegan options.
Originally from Pakistan, Chef Imran Mookhi has always had a passion for Indian food and experimented with spices from India for years. Since moving to LA in 2000, he trained in numerous world-class kitchens including Michelin starred Tamarind of London where he received the Golden Foodie Award for Best Indian Chef in Southern California. “I love creating dishes that combine fresh California ingredients with authentic Indian cuisine with a large variety of spices,” said Chef Imran. “By using additional culinary influences from neighboring Indian countries, we’ve created our own modern interpretations of dishes that you may normally find at a traditional Indian restaurant, yet presented and prepared in a completely unique way.”
Owner RJ Singh has been in the hospitality industry for most of his life. He was the co-owner and creator of the famed Tantra in Silver Lake and India’s Oven, and is the owner of Sirtaj Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Some of TŪMBI’s signature dishes include: Pani Puri, a puff pastry with chickpeas, shallots, and tamarind mint water elegantly served in a shot glass; Afghani Seekh Kabob with ground lamb, fennel, tomato chutney; Charbroiled Paneer Tikka, yogurt, curry, mint chutney; Apricot Curry Patagonian Toothfish Masala with sustainably-caught Chilean sea bass, taro chips, and sweet peppers; Avocado Bhel Puri, avocado and citrus salad that includes puffed rice, tamarind chili, and garlic chutney; Channa Bhatura, a combination of garbanzo beans, garlic oil, garam spices, fried bread; and an impressive array of Dosas, rice and lentil crepes served with sambar soup, flavorful chutneys.
The newly added lunch menu includes TIFFIN, a stackable steel lunch box used throughout India by students and office workers. Guests can select a choice of proteins, lamb, prawns, vegetables served with basmati rice, dal bhukara, house salad. Egg Bhurji, scrambled eggs, onion, tomatoes, and ginger; Butter Chicken with tomato curry, Saffron Panna Cotta made with spiced orange blossom honey, pistachio fruit jelly, market citrus; Demolished Carrot Halwa, a warm garjela with saffron condensed spiced malai, granola crumbles, and vanilla ice cream; and Chocomossa, decadent chocolate filled samosas and vanilla ice cream.
Designed by Architect Sat Garg, TŪMBI is a warm and engaging environment with an industrial chic vibe. TŪMBI, a musical instrument used at many Indian celebrations, decorate the bar. At the forefront of the main dining room is a mural painted by Garg, which was inspired by the iconic temples and places of worship in India. Photos and artwork throughout the restaurant show street scenes taken from various places in India, particularly Rajasthan, Delhi and Chennai in South India. TŪMBI also features a patio with a view of the ocean and private dining room that seats up to 14 guests.
TŪMBI is a modern Indian restaurant and bar in the heart of Santa Monica. Drawing from the extravagant flavors and artistry of India’s cultural heritage, TŪMBI takes Modern Indian cuisine to the next level with an innovative menu that combines authentic Indian street food with haute cuisine. Owner, RJ Singh and Chef Imran Mookhi take guests on a journey throughout India offering an array of robust flavors, spices, fresh ingredients and inspired dishes that celebrate the best of each region. The intimate space, designed by AKAR studios, offers a warm and inviting atmosphere with an ultra-chic vibe. Open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., TŪMBI offers a rotating beer and wine list as well as Indian sodas, coffee and tea. TŪMBI is located at 115 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA, 90401 (310.829.7200). For more information, please visit www.tumbibar.com