There was chat around the office about a new Dishoom opening and when I heard it was around the corner from my flat… well how could I say no.
So it was decided, I told the husband Friday evening would be spent queuing outside Dishoom to get a delicious 50% off as it was opening week! I was warned it would be a wait, but I’m Asian, someone is offering me 50% off and it’s food… every inch of me was screaming ‘You have to go!’.
I rushed home from work, wrapped up warm and prepared myself to wait outside in our famously unwelcoming climate. We got there at 6.30pm and there was already a decent queue, so we took our places at the back. Half an hour went by, not much movement… about fifteen minutes or so later a lovely assistant came around with some masala chai (yum!). I am a committed chai drinker!
Another fifteen minutes and an even kinder gentleman came down the queue apologising for the wait and handed us free breakfast vouchers! More free food, I was in heaven!
Two hours and we were at the front! We felt a huge sense of accomplishment when we stepped in, but then we were handed an electronic thingy and told it was another forty five minutes (sigh). Then I looked around and knew the venue would keep me more than entertained, it was breath-taking! A former railway transit shed… forget double-height ceilings, there were triple and even quadruple-height ceilings! I felt like I was taken back to the days of the Victorians with the decor doing the venue more than justice.
While waiting we had a good ol’ favourite, fried calamari. What can I say, they were as expected, crispy on the outside and the right amount of chewy on the inside. I hate it when calamari is rubbery!
Once at the table we went all out, after almost a three hour wait it had to be a feast… For mains we had the Dishoom Chicken Tikka, Lamb Boti Kebab, Spicy Lamb Chops, Gunpowder Potatoes (because the name was too interesting to pass up) and steamed basmati rice (just because I’m Asian and I like my rice). The dishes were good, a good amount of meat and spice. The gunpower potatoes definitely worth a try, something I have not seen anywhere else and a strong flavoured side that are a nice break from the usual more bland accompaniments.
I have to say I was surprised the mains were dry, rather than a curry which I was expecting… Delicious nonetheless. I later discovered that these ‘Bombay Cafes’ which Dishoom is modelled on were the inventions of Zoroastrian immigrants from Iran. So the food is a fusion between Indian flavours and Iranian style of cooking. I love it!
By far the best choice were the lamb chops. Wow! Rolled in an array of strong, dry spices and then grilled. The harsh flavours make it a dish not for the faint hearted. This was my clear favourite and the reason I will be going back!
To top it all off, Guju Chocolate Mousse for dessert. So I am a Gujurati, but I had never tried shrikhand until I spent a couple of months in Gujurat a few years back and oh my god I fell in love with it! So when I saw a mix of chilli and salt chocolate with shrikhand I could not resist, plus a chance to expose my non-Guju husband to one of the region’s delicacies. However, I have to say I was under-impressed. The chocolate was nice, but shrikhand not amazing, so all in all it was under-whelming.
Our 50% off bill came to £40, well worth it! But at 100% of the bill… for me it’s a special treat kind of place.