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Uni biryani at Bibi Ji, Santa Barbara
Collin Dewell

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Bibi Ji, Jessi Singh and Rajat Parr’s Indian Wine Bar, Debuts Friday in Santa Barbara

The Babu Ji chef and renowned wine guru pair up in Central Coast

Jessi Singh, the chef from San Francisco and New York City’s acclaimed Babu Ji, and wine guru Rajat Parr, will open their restaurant Bibi Ji in Santa Barbara tomorrow. Singh and Parr, who both now live in Santa Barbara, plan to serve a creative take on Indian cuisine, most notably local sea urchin stuffed with biryani and a tandoori-style octopus.

The menu leans heavily on local ingredients and seafood, such as Hope Ranch black mussels in curry broth and jumbo prawn with pineapple and tomato jam. Singh’s iconic Colonel Tso’s cauliflower shows up on the menu, along with more Indian-style classics like dal, coconut curry, and gol gappa.

Parr will bring years of wine knowledge and expertise after opening RN74 and working with Michael Mina’s restaurant group. Bibi Ji will have a takeaway wine shop and range of bottles to drink in-house, most notably from Parr’s own labels, Domaine de la Cote and Sandhi. Those wines are produced in Lompoc, and the rest of the organic, biodynamic, and natural wines will come locally from Santa Barbara’s wine country, with selections from Europe and Australia.

The interior has 40 seats, plus 15 spots at the bar and another 45 seats on both the front and back patios. The name is inspired by the women in Jessi’s and Rajat’s lives (“bibi” is a term of endearment), and a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds will be donated to the Santa Barbara Firefighter’s Alliance. Hours run 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with a daily happy hour until 5 p.m. with $6 wines by the glass and a discounted food menu.

Bibi Ji. 734 State Street. Santa Barbara, CA. 805-560-6845.

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