I really liked Dishoom in a gushy, excited sort of way. I love Indian food at Tayyabs and in Brick Lane and Tooting like everyone else, but Dishoom is just so pretty and lovely inside and why can’t Indian restaurants be funky and glamorous too? India can be an incredibly glamorous and romantic place, of Bollywood and colourful saris and love songs and chai shops. I never made it to Mumbai, but Dishoom (which is the sound made when the hero punches someone in a Bollywood film) is modelled on a Mumbai cafe and it’s gorgeous inside – all newspapers and chai and low-hanging wires and lovely lighting and marble tables and a clock modelled on the one in Mumbai station. It is meant for you to wander in, grab a paper, sit and drink a chai and watch the world go by. (They also serve bhang chai and bhang lassi but I don’t think these are the same as the ones I had in India which made my stay in Pushkar string out to two wonderfully lazy hazy weeks.)
Anyway, it has a no reservations policy but we had no problem getting a lovely booth for 3 at 8pm last Wednesday night. And if you are more than 6 you can book the little cave booths downstairs which look like they’d be fun with a group of mates. I went on a platonic she-date with two fellow bloggers, Uyen from Fernandez & Leluu and Ute from Hungry in London and it was lovely to go along with girls who like their food as much as I do (although I had to stop Uyen from ordering half the menu…). There are photos of the three of us below and yes we continued to look as cool as this throughout the meal.
So onto the food, which I thought was fantastic. Really tasty delicious Indian food that doesn’t make you want to crawl home on all fours and curl up on the sofa directly afterwards. Absolutely delicious were the succulent juicy lamb chops and the berry chicken biryani and I loved the paneer and mushroom salad. The battered fish and veggie samosas were lovely too – with some delicious chutneys which were a bit more interesting than the norm. Less successful were the chilli prawns (just a bit dull) and the lamb rolls (more like a lunchtime wrap) but we probably over-ordered (Uyen!) so this was fine. It wasn’t too heavy, just deliciously spiced and interesting. And I didn’t sweat profusely and go purple as is my norm with Indian food (sorry fellow diners at Tayaabs).
Alongside all this food, we had rice and naan and a lovely bottle of wine and finished off with mint tea and chai and all this came to around £27 each which makes it extremely good value – glamorous in a Cinammon Club/Kitchen kind of way but without the whopping price tag. AND there was no service charge to the bill which is refreshing. Service was great although they could give the glasses of water a rest and bring a jug instead – the waiter, although lovely and happy to tell us all about Dishoom, hadn’t counted on how much water I need when eating spicy food and was probably buzzing round our table a bit too much. It would be PERFECT for a date or with a group of friends. If you’re looking for a bite to eat in Covent Garden, this would be my choice.