Dishoom, which claimed to be ‘modelled after Parsi-owned Bombay cafes’, was absolutely, incredibly bustling this evening, with a queue that went out the door. It took up a beautiful space, high-ceilinged ground floor, cosier basement dining room, retro-Indian pop decor abound, even in the washrooms.
What we had:
- ‘Far far’, crispy rice crackers, which went well with the 3 types of dips provided. They actually charged GBP2.20 for something which I thought should be complimentary.
- ‘Bhel’, which is Dishoom’s take on the popular chaat, ‘bhel puri’. Decent version here – the spiciness, sweetness & sourness of the dish all toned down (understandably) to suit local Londoners’ tastes.
- Okra fries - simple but fun.
- There were 3 types of biryani on offer – we chose the ‘Chicken Berry Britannia’ option. The chicken pieces were overly-dry, and the rice used were of the cheaper variety. But the cranberries provided little bursts of sweetness which was an added taste dimension. Note: one portion was enough to serve 2 persons of pretty healthy appetites. One has to pay an additional GBP2.20 for cucumber raita to accompany the biryani (boo!) and no hard-boiled egg provided as well (I’d have loved that).
- ‘House black dhal’ which, the menu mentioned, was ‘simmered over 24 hours for extra harmony’. It sounded like Dishoom’s take on the famous ‘Dhal Makhani’ served at ITC Maurya Delhi’s Bukhara restaurant, which cooked their version for 16-18 hours. But Bukhara’s version was more buttery-rich and tastier.
- Garlic naan (average), cheese naan (below average) and Roomali roti (meh!)
Overall? Service was friendly & attentive, decor was over-the-top kitsch, food was not memorable, prices were exorbitant.
Did it remind me of the Parsi cafes of Mumbai? Hell, no!
Dishoom Covent Garden
12 Upper St. Martin's Lane
London, WC2H 9FB
Tel: 020 7420 9320