So here’s the thing: I have a dilemma.
What does one write about a restaurant everyone already loves?
Last night, I realised that in my first year and a half living in London, I have committed one atrocious crime: I did not go to Dishoom earlier.
Dishoom – or the Bombay Cafe as they describe themselves – is like an interior designer’s dream which serves incredible food. I’d seen a picture or two of their restaurants in London magazines, but I think what first hooked me was this description they have on their website:
“The Old Irani Cafés of Bombay have almost all disappeared. Their faded elegance welcomed all: rich businessmen, sweaty taxi-wallas and courting couples. Fans turned slowly. Bentwood chairs were reflected in stained mirrors, next to sepia family portraits. Students had breakfast. Families dined. Lawyers read briefs. Writers found their characters.”
Yeah. Sign me up.
There was only one problem. I have avoided trying Dishoom because I am loath to wait for a table, which for some entirely insane reason seems to be all the rage in London. You can’t reserve for dinner unless you are a party over 6.
We arrived at their King’s Cross location wondering if the early eating time of 6pm would suit us (the only time available to book a table on a Wednesday evening). By the time we were sitting, most of us admitted we were already charmed before we reached the table.
We ordered cocktails and loved reading about the Permit Room (in Bombay, the prohibition style room where drinking is sanctioned once you obtain a private permit). We were advised to order 2-3 dishes per person and could barely decide which to order.
I would say the Black House Dahl (simmered for 24 hours) were the champion of the dinner menu, but I also particularly enjoyed the Chicken Berry Britannia and Mattar Paneer. The calamari were also out of this world. We topped the night off with magical glasses of Bailey’s Chai which were delicious until the cream at the top of two of ours went a bit funky – but in all honesty, I didn’t care.
Truth is, I’d go back and happily wait the hour for the table in their incredible basement bar. I’d order an Edwina’s Affair – gin, rose & cardamom with mint. Maybe have some ocra fries while we wait.
I hear they do brunch. I will likely be back to sample it before you’ve even read this post.