Jujaar Singh opened Brentwood’s Bombay Clay Pit Indian restaurant a year-ago last June. For a while, Jujaar said that he earned a living as a long-haul truck driver. However, he has the soul of an entrepreneur and, as well as his restaurant business, he owns three motels — two in Nevada and one in Oklahoma. Jujaar is obviously a businessman, but he said that becoming a restaurateur was his destiny.
Even though the restaurant is relatively new, Jujaar was no novice to the business. In fact, this is his third restaurant. His brother owned three San Francisco restaurants and sold one of them,The Bombay Indian Restaurant, to Jujaar with the stipulation that Jujaar learn the business. Jujaar had learned the basics of preparing Indian food while growing up in India but learned the details of professional food service from his brother and from the chef, Kuldeep Singh (no relation). Jujaar spent the next 15 years operating the restaurant. Five years after purchasing the one in San Francisco, he opened a second restaurant in Walnut Creek. During the 15 years he owned the San Francisco establishment, Jujaar commuted from his Antioch home. Finally, in January 2013 he sold both restaurants. Chef Kuldeep and some of his staff encouraged Jujaar to open a restaurant in East County and Bombay Clay Pit opened June 13, 2013. It has enjoyed success due to word-of-mouth by satisfied customers and some well-deserved reviews. Jujaar has reduced his commute time from 2-4 hours a day to a few minutes. Chef Kuldeep, who had lived in San Francisco, bought a home in Antioch and enjoys a short commute, as well. The restaurant was named after the clay-lined oven, which was designed for making such dishes as naan (Indian flatbread), BBQ chicken, and kebab. The oven operates on the principle of radiated heat that fires the oven to 450°. Clay pits were traditionally fueled by charcoal but, since charcoal was outlawed, Jujaar said his clay pit uses gas. “The taste is just the same,” Jujaar said with a smile.
Jujaar characterized his menus as Standard North Indian cuisine. Appealing entreés and side dishes are available from an extensive menu, but the heart of the restaurant is a buffet with steaming dishes featuring such things as Vegetable Pandra, Tandoori Chicken, Kofta (chicken and lamb meatballs), Chana Masala (garbanzo beans cooked in curry sauce with spices), Basmati Rice, Opo (squash), and Navratan Korma (vegetables with cheese and nuts in a mild creamy sauce).
We sampled a few items from the buffet plus a number of entreés including Tandoori Chicken, kabob served on a steaming plate, garbanzo beans, Sag Paneer (fresh spinach cooked with herbs, spices, and homemade cheese cubes), and authentic Indian beverages. One memorable item was a plate of Garlic Naan. There were far too many pieces for us to consume, but I took the leftovers home. One of our party said she didn’t usually like garbanzo beans, but declared the ones Jujaar served to us to be delicious. Everything was delicious!
The restaurant offers automated online ordering as well as home delivery to nearly any location in East County. I can’t wait to go back!