Restaurants & Bars 10

Dishoom, Covent Garden, London

Kelly | Dec 7, 201108:21 AM

When it comes to Indian in London, I'm a Lahore Kebab House fan from way back (and love Quilon and Moti Mahal when I'm feeling posh). But this week, my work schedule prevented an East End lunch venture - so a friend brought me to Dishoom.

I was DEEPLY skeptical going in, because it looks like the kind of generic restaurant that offers an 8.95 ploughman's lunch and an upstairs function room. But it smelled good, and the man at the tandoor gave me a cheery smile. And then we started eating:

Bhel puri - a bit more tamarind tang than purely citric zing, and fantastic - ticked all the boxes of fabulous crunch with the constantly shifting interplay of herbal coriander, sharp chili and a touch of unexpected sweetness from pomegranate seeds. FAH-BU-LUSS.

Mutter paneer - put Lahore's in the shade. Mellow heat and perfectly textured cheese.

Lamb boti kebab - I'm not prepared to say these big chunks of grilled lamb are better than Lahore's chops, but if not, they come damn close. Garlic, ginger, chili - perfectly cooked with a lovely toothsome sear on the outside.

Black dal - totally outclassed Lahore, and came very, very, VERY close to Moti Mahal's makhani dal.

Gunpowder potatoes - I've been longing for these room-temp tangy potatoes since having them in a bar in Delhi. SO good.

Naan (which I didn't try) and roti, which didn't fit my perception of roti qua roti - it was a single layer of thin, almost tortilla-like bread rather than a multi-layered flaky thing - but was nonetheless tasty.

Raita - excellent. Good yogurt, chopped cucumbers, a bit of cumin and garlic - what's not to like?

Mint and tamarind chutneys - also very good.

Mango and fennel lassi - while not quite on a par with the mango lassi I had the day before at the Indali Lounge near Baker Street in terms of luxurious creaminess and depth of mango flavour, someone had had the brilliant idea of stirring in a spoonful of fennel seeds. GREAT combo.

*And* it's in central London. I am ever so happy.

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