I’ve been wanting to try Dishoom the vintage vintage Mumbai cafe in London and had heard some great things. As we were in Shoreditch, we decided to eat at Dishoom which is around the corner from Boundary Hotel (cool rooftop bar here!). I always wondered what the word Dishoom meant – apparently the hindi word used in Bollywood films to represent the sound made when the hero’s fist hits his opponent.
Dishoom is modelled on Mumbai cafes when Persian immigrants who moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) started a trend for all-day cafés based on elegant European coffee houses at the turn of the 20th century. Many thrive to this day in Colaba in their original form and location and are the inspiration for this London eatery.
It is a casual and quirky restaurant with elegant painted brickwork, old photographs and signs on the walls, dark wood tables with white marble tops, tall dark shutters and low lit lighting. It was great to be see the cooks in the open-plan kitchen – the chefs making fresh naans and chargrilling kebabs.
We are quickly seated up at the bar where the chef was making keema pau and pau bhaji and told a little about the restaurant by our waiter who explained that the food is served when it’s ready. Neil ordered: bhang lassi: fresh ginger, mint and hints of Bombay spice with rum which he was a little disappointed with as it was tasteless whilst I had the traditional nimbu pani.
Food wise – we had a look at the small plates and opted for the bhel which was tasty – a little more chutney would have been great. As we were in a rush we went for the frankies – open-ended naan parcels, baked and filled with chicken, lamb, chickpeas curry or paneer – best eaten with the hands. I went for the paneer one which was really tasty – had enough spice and crunch to it. I’ve heard the portions are small but for what we ordered it was fine.
Food done, we were pretty full so didn’t have any desserts. I did however opt for the masala chai – one of the nicest I’ve had and close to the one you would have in India. We loved the small glasses in which the hot drinks are served.
I loved Dishoom – the decor, the atmosphere and the food! I’d like to go back to try other dishes like the pau bhaji and the famous golas! Dishoom is great for a quick snack,breakfast or a longer dinner. I’ll be back.