Friday, November 25

Food: Dishoom Click for more info

I had heard a lot about Dishoom and its offering of the Bombay cafe scene here in London. On paper at least it seemed like a wonderful take on the already saturated indian food scene, and I had meaning to check it out for a while now.

Unlike most places, my review starts hours before we even arrived at the place. Based on the advice of those who had already been, I decided to book a table for six (which happens to also be the minimum you can reserve for). On calling I was asked for my credit card details and told that a cover charge of ten quid per head would be taken then, to be refunded on the final bill at the end of the evening. Now I'm not really the type that goes out to eat that often but this was the first time a restaurant has ever asked me to pay to reserve a booking. But hey, some places are popular (while waiting for my table I saw at least five parties being turned away) and I figured they had to do it to avoid empty covers, something probably more likely to happen considering the (brown) people the place attracts.

The place has a distinctive vibe. Crowded and noisy, it was fun and happening and alluring at first but did start to grate toward the end. It seems that the place attracted a certain type of person - you know, the young, professional, pretty "desi" type and although I enjoyed being in the company of such beautiful people the experience was kind of shallow.

And the troubles didn't end there. Due to some of our party arriving late there was a mix up with our table and five minutes after we had been seated we were asked to wait in the queue again - with no option to leave with our deposit. After causing a scene we managed to keep the table, but the experience wasn't that great. Our waiter even explicitly asked for a tip afterwards. My only guess was that the place wanted to recreate not only the food of Mumbai but the service found there too.

But eventually we got to eat some food and at last I found something to justify the trip there. The meat and chicken are halal (and cooked separately), so we had access to a large part of the menu. We picked the Chilli Cheese Toast, Calamari and Pau Bhaji for starters and the Lamb Chops, Dhaba Chicken and Black Daal for mains - I make the distinction between courses but Dishoom has a policy where food comes as it's made ready; we even received our first dish while the server was still taking the rest of our order. It was quite amazing really.

And the food wasn't bad actually. Rich and tasty, yet light, the deceptively small portions were more than enough for those at the table; we even had some left over. Even the "boring" daal turned out to be quite the hit, and my mouth is watering again just thinking of it.

The bill was a bit of a surprise, the total coming to 16 quid per head for all the food and Nimbu Panis. We couldn't quite figure out where the value came from, but there you go.

In many ways Dishoom is very much like most pretty Asian female Londoners: hot, attractive, sexy and alluring at first... but ultimately stuck up, rude, pretentious and high maintenance once you get to know them. And like with the pretty Asian female Londoner, whether the really good is worth the so, so bad is something a hungry soul will have to decide for themselves. But even though I would recommend you all give Dishoom a try, it's somewhere I'm unlikely to go back to again any time soon myself.


  1. Friend of mine saw this featured in in-air magazine on a flight and is wanting to go check it out. Ironic you've posted a review at the same time. Will check it out.

  2. i'm liking the restaurants name!