Dishoom: is the onomatopoeic equivalent to “pow” or “bang.” The word Dishoom probably goes back to the 1975 Ramesh Sippy film Sholay with Amitabh Bacchhan which is considered to be a Curry Western and is the highest grossing film in Bollywood.
While I was visiting London over its summer season (winter for Cape Town) I had the pleasure of dining at the world renowned restaurant Dishoom. An exotic and vibrant restaurant that its food never failed to meet. If you haven’t had the chance to visit, Dishoom is the West End’s high-end version to Bombay food. Yes, I wouldn’t say the feel is entirely Eastern but rather a crossover between fine dining with a bit of culture to its step. Does that mean the place isn’t 100 percent authentic Indian? No, in fact its menu is filled with Indian dialect to tempt its readers taste buds. So how was my experience dining at Dishoom? Well get reading people…
Upon arrival we were seated immediately, it helped that we had a reservation for lunch because judging by the queue we were extremely lucky not to have waited. Everything was organised from the table to the food, it was all swift and surrounded with the efficient communication between the staff. A little over the top if you ask me, but hey I suppose that is what you have to expect with “fine dining.” Our food arrived promptly and while the waitress did make a few errors here and there she did her best to rectify any issues.
The theme of the restaurant is to portray the old cafes of Bombay, however, when you walk in to the checkered marbled floors it automatically gives you the sense that you’re about to spend a higher amount then you ever would at any Bombay cafe. The cutlery and crockery all kept with the classic Indian steel ware aesthetic but the venue itself screamed pretentious. Bombay cafes (from my experience) portrays warmth and humility but that doesn’t particularly mean the size should be small. Not to sound too repetitive but this isn’t your local curry house, its fine dining.
My favourite part of any review is discussing the food in detail while my stomach grumbles insanely. The food was hot, flavoursome and oozing with fragrance. I loved every bite and by the end of the meal I knew the walk around town was definitely a necessity. For starters we ordered; chilli cheese toast, okra fries (they were divine and I am not even a lady finger fan!) and prawn kaliwada. Even if you are someone who doesn’t eat too spicy, this restaurant can meet your needs. As an indian, I have been a huge embarrassment to the culture as my taste buds are too weak to explore beyond mild.
Fortunately, the food at Dishoom has literally the right amount of kick to encourage you grabbing more. As mains we helped ourselves to; the signature house black daal, chicken ruby, romali roti and the standard garlic naan. The whole idea behind Indian food at restaurants is sort of like eating “tapas,” sharing these dishes amongst groups of people. Not only is it easy on your pocket but everyone experiences the overall menu. Finally for dessert, (shockingly was not my favourite course at this restaurant) I had the Dishoom chocolate pudding. The chocolate itself was very rich and paired with the kashmiri chilli ice cream came across as nauseating after a few bites. Luckily we ended the day off with the classic masala chai, this chai truly did not disappoint and it definitely hit the spot. One of the great parts to ending the meal is the complimentary sweet dish/mithai chocolate barfi they give at the end of the meal. It was delicious and after a fully loaded meal like that I would definitely recommend waiting for this treat after the bill.
Now the total cost of our meal would seem quite intimidating but considering there were four of us (and the amount we ordered) the total was fairly decent as we came out to approximately £12 a head without tip. It is definitely worth going to if you’re going to share a meal and if you want to experience the mix of Western dining and Eastern food. However, I would advise booking well in advance and ensuring you’re punctual to avoid any long lines. It is highly likely you could end up losing your table if you’re late.
Would I return? Yes, but mostly for those okra fries and the house chai! If you haven’t had the chance to already, then I would recommend visiting the restaurant but don’t expect a cafe or cafe prices, it is far from it.
If you’ve ever been to Dishoom, feel free to leave your comments on how your experience was. Just a heads up, I didn’t bring my DSLR for this outing so everything was shot on an Iphone. So excuse the poor quality images guys! For more information on Dishoom and its dining check out their website here.