“Bhoomi,” the Sanskrit word for earth or land, is a modern Indian dining concept focused on fresh, organic, and responsibly-sourced grilled food. The menu features seafood, chicken, paneer, and meats bursting with flavor and crafted to treat the palette, body, and soul. As a new addition to Chicago’s Urbanspaace food hall, Bhoomi Modern Indian Grill is ready to spice up your winter with their unique, delicious modern Indian cuisines.
Image Credit: UrbanMatter Chicago
A Tribute to the Family
Founded by the husband-and-wife team of Ajit and Sukhu Kalra, Bhoomi is an homage to Ajit’s father, the legendary Indian culinary giant Jiggs Kalra. The menu is based on recipes created by Ajit and Jiggs, and introduces diners to innovative, made-from-scratch dishes presented in a stylized and contemporary way. The restaurant opened on September 15, 2021, in Chicago’s new Urbanspace food hall located at 15 W. Washington St.
“My dad and uncle were quite the grill masters, and we were a kebab eating family basking in the glow of great food in Delhi, India. That amazing aroma of lavishly spiced meat sizzling over a charcoal fire can make anyone a kebab lover, but it became a real obsessive passion for me. I was spoiled and hooked with that bounty surrounding me at all times,” says Sukhu, Bhoomi’s co-owner.
Image Credit: Bhoomi
Food Means Love
As George Bernard Shaw proudly declared, there is no love more sincere in this world compared to the love for food. The authenticity and affection passed from the kitchen to the table is an even bigger piece in Asian cultures. When asked about her favorite memories about food tradition, Sukhu immediately recalled their biweekly family cookouts on the patios “where a lot of chicken tikkas, paneer tikkas, and goat based seekh kebabs were grilled over a charcoal kettle grill. It really was a smorgasbord of kebabs that we over indulged in growing up in India.”
“Another one of my fondest kebab memories is receiving these really special 1-kg (2.2 lbs) boxes of melt in your mouth galauti kebabs at our home that were flown in from the city of Lucknow (the undisputed kebab capital of India) every month because my dad had many fans who wanted to show their gratitude to him for shining a light on their cuisine,” says Sukhu.
Image Credit: Bhoomi
Modern Takes on All the Traditional Goodies
At Bhoomi Modern Indian Grill, you won’t find heavy curries that tend to saturate Chicago’s Indian food scene, but rather an emphasis on what is, in the words of Kalra, “the greatest and most underrepresented of all Indian food—freshly prepared, grilled Indian kebabs.” Prepare your palate for bright quinoa pilaf bowls, organic phulka rotis topped with extravagantly marinated, melt-in-your mouth kebabs and housemade herb-driven chutneys. The flavors are seductively bold yet effortlessly light.
“Our menu is in a perfect harmonious balance of flavor and quality. It is the only menu (and by extension restaurant) in America that features organic, pasture raised, grass fed grilled Indian meats (kebabs). The effort that goes into our food is truly EXTRAORDINARY. We cut every Vegetable and herb from scratch. We roast our own spices and then create our own signature spice blends and sauces using those ingredients. And this happens every single day.”
If you’re in doubt, check the online reviews yourself. Because Bhoomi’s reviews sure shout out for the freshness and flavor explosion in Bhoomi food and that is no accident. And the secret? It is the 24-48 hour marination cycles before the kebab ever hitting the grill plate that create for a symphony of smooth yet complex flavors that are absolutely unique and elevated.
Image Credit: Bhoomi
Chef’s Recommended Dishes
We want you to have all the best, therefore, we checked with co-owner and chef Sukhu on what she would recommend for new guest to try.
The chicken tikka kebab. This is Bhoomi’s biggest seller – whether it’s over the quinoa bowl or the handmade phulka roti bread.
The paneer cheese is a close second in its popularity and at par with the chicken in its repeat patronage. So creamy and intensely flavored without ever being overly imposing.
The salmon. This dish is probably the superstar of the menu for its uniqueness. The salmon is marinated in toasted Indian spices, and it truly elevates the seafood game exponentially. Our patrons are definitely in agreement. Try that in a warm quinoa grain bowl.
The steak. For all of you red meat lovers, the steak is marinated for 48 hours in a unique spice blend. You’ll be delighted with the super tender melt in your mouth — indeed, a Wagyu-like experience!
Many also come in just for the sides. Especially for the gently spiced and charred cauliflower cut twice a day from the whole vegetable. A single order is almost an entire head of cauliflower. Additionally, the pasties are a big hit with their marinated tikkas in French puff pastry baked to a golden brown.
“We are fluid with the format for expansion – it could be in chicago or beyond. Perhaps a live charcoal fire. Who knows? All options are open but one thing is for sure. We want to commit and dedicate ourselves to this food from our first location will take out time to build our name and reputation before jumping into anything else. This is a passion play for us,” says Sukhu.
What are you waiting for? Come check out Bhoomi Modern Indian Grill and warm up!
Featured Image Credit: UrbanMatter Chicago