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Bombay Yacht Club

  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  1. Inside Bombay Yacht Club there are bright blue floors and curtains, an orange mural above a long bar with blue stools,
    Photograph: Michael Oulton
  2. A white plate on a white table with grilled lamb in a yellow sauce
    Photograph: Michael Oulton
  3. A white table with a white bowl filled with prawns with green sauce
    Photograph: Michael Oulton
  4. A white plate on a white table has lamb racks on it with an orange cocktail in the background
    Michael Oulton

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Jessi Singh’s new venture sails into Flinders Lane bringing fun and irreverence in its wake

It’s a bit like a fever dream. Walking into Bombay Yacht Club, you’re greeted by a riot of colour – Yves Klein blue curtains, turquoise dining chairs, bright yellow bar, a floor of swirling cloud formations. We’re told there’s also a bubble machine that lazily emits bubbles onto dining patrons. Cute! Eighties classics blast from the speaker and reverberate through the small venue. What is undoubtedly a fun, opulent space on a busy night is slightly disconcerting on a quiet Tuesday evening when we are the only customers dining. 

However, the chairs are comfortable, and the service is attentive and welcoming. BYC (I'm saving my word count) was opened by restaurateur and chef Jessi Singh (Horn Please, Daughter In Law) in the space previously occupied by his wine bar, Mrs Singh. Singh started sailing during lockdown and, through this hobby, discovered an abundance of exclusive yacht clubs and restaurants. This inspired BYC, which gives a nod to the private yacht clubs that operated under colonial rule in Singh's birth country of India. BYC acknowledges this history with the tongue-in-cheek style that is the signature of Sigh and his venues. 

This irreverence and fun flow into the menu, which primarily draws from Indian flavours with some input from other southern Asian countries. For instance, the half lobster arrives covered in a bitey Sri Lankan chilli sambal on a heaping pile of pilaf-style rice. It's an extremely generous serve that's a bargain at $44. The lobster meat is sweet and delicate, with the sticky, spicy sauce invigorating the palate. Add a squeeze from the charred lime on the side and you’ve got a well-rounded, vibrant mouthful. 

The BYC menu plays on classics but with gratifying twists that, for the most part, hit the mark. Charred lamb chops arrive on a liberal dollop of smoked horseradish yoghurt ($40) with fatty edges rendered to unctuous perfection. The meat is blushing pink and impossibly tender. Although the yoghurt is more smoky than sinus pinching, it works beautifully with the rich meat. 

A slight misfire for us is the Butter Chicken Pâté ($24) – a customer favourite that we find slightly confusing. Chicken livers have been cooked in the tandoor, then blended with ghee and tomato and served in a jar with flaky roti to dip. The flavour is there, but the chilled temperature recalls leftover Indian takeaway straight from the fridge. Its texture is saucy, not the smooth, spreadable, soft-but-dense delight that pâté typically delivers. 

Kingfish ceviche is a stalwart of many a Flinders Lane menu, so it's not surprising to see one here. However, Singh has used his twisty prowess, and this one comes swimming in a pool of delightfully creamy coconut sauce. Refreshing and sweet, it has popping finger lime caviars generously floating throughout, and chilli oil prevents the dish from being too one-note. It's another colossal serving and at $26 with thick poppadoms to dip, an absolute steal.

Unsurprisingly, the booze menu is comprehensive. There's a whole menu dedicated to gin-based cocktails, along with the signature list that borrows from their Indian roots. Wine and Champagne offerings are broad and cater to all predilections. 

This is the kind of venue that we really want to see succeed. In a city of dainty wine bars, BYC is bold, creative and, most importantly, fun. Let’s hope this quiet Tuesday is an anomaly, as BYC deserves to be packed to the rafters, with drinks flowing and bubbles drifting – as it was designed to be. 

Written by
Emily Morrison


88 Flinders Lane
Opening hours:
Wed-Sat 5pm-late
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