When my friend told me that she had arranged for us to go for lunch at Dishoom, a Bombay-cafe inspired restaurant in Covent Garden, London I was over the moon.
Loving anything and everything, which sparks my fond memories of my time in India, I headed to their website to tantalize my excitement even more. Once I’d browsed their menu, scanned their rave reviews on TripAdvisor and unraveled a lot of heartwarming memories of my time in Mumbai, I couldn’t wait to check it out for myself!
After finding my way from Leicester Square tube station, I entered the restaurant to the strong, comforting smell of Indian spices and chai.
The hustle and bustle of the restaurant instantly reminded me of the cafes in Mumbai… albeit, with a luxurious, modern and opulent twist.
The rustic framed Bollywood photographs and original ads from Bombay newspapers, which line the walls, the low hanging filament lights that weave their way along the ceiling like black intertwined electrical wires, the traditional Indian silver water cups, which are stacked up on the table, just as they would be in a classic Indian cafe and the cabinets of authentic Indian toiletries in the bathroom, all bring the balance of tone, taste and tradition together, perfectly.
And that’s before we’ve even discussed food and drink…
As we hadn’t booked a table (go here for the restaurant’s terms on reserving tables), we had around a 40 minute wait. However, this just meant we had time to indulge in a tasty tipple at the bar downstairs beforehand.
The restaurant is made up of two floors. The first floor, where the hectic open kitchen stands proudly, is more light, laid back, and suited for lunch. Whereas the downstairs, which houses the cocktail bar, is more dark, atmospheric and befitting for dinner.
Whilst we relaxed at the bar, I ordered a traditional, spiced chai.
Looking back, I wish I’d pushed the boat out and tried one of their unique spins on the classic Indian drinks of chai and lassi. The Bailey’s chai and rose and cardamon lassi sounded divine however, I couldn’t help myself but stick with what I knew, loved and missed…
The traditional chai was scrumptious and burst with the delicious taste and smell of an Indian, spice bazaar.
Once we had been seated, we quickly reeled off the order we had been drooling over ever since we had set eyes on the menu. We then sat goggling at the other table’s food until ours arrived.
We started with the vegetable samosas (£3.10), which were crispy and jam-packed with flavour. We then followed with a selection of dishes to share – the mattar paneer (£7.50), chicken ruby (£8.20), masala prawns (£11.20), chicken berry Britannia biryani (£8.50)… all accompanied with a batch of garlic naan (£2.20) to mop up the heavenly sauces.
Although everything, which touched my palate was exquisite, the chicken ruby was just… WOW. The combination of succulent moist chicken and a deep rich, flavoursome sauce was out of this world. I completely understand why this dish is a recommended favourite at the restaurant!
We left Dishoom not toooo worse for wear on the money front and very happy that we weren’t overly full… a feeling, which I’m sure we can all vouch for, usually happens after a hefty Indian.
If you are looking for some great quality Indian food with attentive and bubbly staff and a buzzing atmosphere, then make sure you head to Dishoom!
They also serve hearty, traditional Indian breakfasts from 8am-11.30am on weekdays and 9am – midday on weekends. Check out their menu, here.
And, if you don’t happen to be in the Covent Garden area, they also have restaurants in Kings Cross and Shoreditch.
Enjoy, and let me know how the Bailey’s chai are… I’ll definitely be popping back in for one of those babies!