I recently had an absolutely wonderful evening at Dishoom in Shoreditch. Mr E was having his hair cut in the area and I made an impromptu decision to meet him afterwards and grab a bite to eat. Dishoom had been highly recommended to me by a number of people and I was really keen to try it out.
From the moment I walked in I absolutely loved the place. It was full of character and had a great vibe; relaxed and bustling.
No reservations are taken in the evening, unless you are in a group of 6+, so we added our names to the list and took a seat in The Permit Room (the bar) to wait with a drink. I hadn’t realised this but since 1949, Bombay has been under a state of prohibition. As a result, anyone who wishes to consume or purchase alcohol must obtain a “permit” declaring that they require the alcohol for the preservation and maintenance of their health. A very interesting concept indeed and one that Dishoom has adopted by creating The Permit Room.
There were plenty of “medicinal” beverages to choose from. I went for a Hunterwali’s Julep, which the menu informed me was a “nod to the masked stuntwoman Fearless Nadia, notable as Hunterwali or Lady of the Whip“. It contained rum, fresh ginger, spearmint, pineapple and jaggery (unrefined cane sugar). I also had a glass of some very nice English sparkling wine and Mr E had a pint or two of India pale ale. A very good drink selection indeed!
Dishoom is not your classic Indian restaurant. It’s based on a traditional Bombay cafe and in my view that is what makes it so wonderful. The food is designed for sharing, there are only a couple of curries, with many more small plates, grills, breads and vegetables to share. Our waiter suggested four dishes between two of us, which was just about right and made for a very reasonably priced meal.
I enjoyed every single mouthful. The calamari was tender and crunchy, the chicken was soft and full of flavour, the lamb raan bun was literally stuffed full of succulent pulled pork and served with a tangy slaw and then best of all, my absolute favourite, was the prawns. I could have eaten 20. They were big, fat, juicy numbers, wonderfully charred and delicately spiced. Perfection.
I will most certainly be going back to Dishoom (I already have my next visit in the diary) and although there is plenty more on the menu that I want to try, I will not be leaving without tasting those prawns again!
Lamb Raan Bun
I would comfortably recommend Dishoom to anyone. I think it has universal appeal and I thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the experience. 9/10 from me. Bravo!
I should mention that there is a second branch in Covent Garden but my understanding is that it is much more slick and shiny than the Shoreditch branch. I will update this post when I have visited that one but in the meantime if you have been to both, please leave a comment to let us know whether it is just as wonderful.