Dishoom has been on my go-to list ever since I heard about the Bombay café. Being Indian, the joy of hearing about good, traditional Indian food excites me but there was just never a good opportunity to visit the restaurant.
Luckily enough, the day finally arrived when we decided to bite the bullet and have a relaxed lunch hour imagining that we were somewhere further away from London.
The Shoreditch branch of Dishoom is in one word, stunning. We chose to eat in the verandah outside which was incredibly cosy and homely.
To drink I was excited to find that the house chai was similar to that of my own traditional Indian chai tea recipe, with added spices making the tea more spicy and comforting.
We were informed that the house chai is bottomless and we could ask for glass and glass of the stuff. Well worth the £2.50 price tag.
The first dish we ordered was bhel which was crispy rice and Bombay mix served with pomegranate, tomato, lime, tamarind and mint. The dish was refreshing, with an added acidity from lime and sweetness from the pomegranate. It was so good that I was surprised I’d never tried it before.
We also ordered the lamb samosas which reminded me of home; crispy pastry with a delicately spiced lamb mince centre.
The paneer tikka was one we had to try since I was left impressed with a similar dish served at Gymkhana. The paneer had a spicy tikka exterior but was grilled to perfection.
On my second visit, some pieces of paneer were overcooked making the taste and texture rubbery, ruining the grilled, spicy flavour.
We couldn’t visit an Indian restaurant without ordering a curry, so decided to order the chicken ruby with romaali roti. The rommali roti was warm, soft and incredibly more-ish and could have been eaten on its own.
Chicken ruby had a delicious creamy, tomato based sauce with enough spice to give flavour. My only complaint was the chicken pieces were quite large and not enough to be easily shared between two and left plenty of ruby curry sauce behind.
As soon as I saw the dessert menu and the dish kala khatta gola ice described as ‘bizarre‘ and ‘captivating’, I had to try the dish. My server was a little hesitant and said that dish can be over powering for a lot of diners, with most not enjoying the dessert. Instead he offered to give us a little taste.
Not expecting to enjoy the flavoured ice after the warning, both myself and my colleague were pleasantly surprised. The ice itself was hard to describe as it had so many spicy notes such as ginger, cardamom, cumin but also has an added sweetness from the fruit syrup, with strong salty notes and lime to balance all the flavours together. It was a beautiful palate cleanser that I doubt I’d be able to find anywhere else in London.
Since the kala khatta gola ice was more of a taster, we ordered a dessert to share between two and picked the Guju chocolate mousse.
The mousse has large flecks of sea salt scattered on the mousse which enhanced the chocolate flavour. The yoghurt had a creamy tart flavour next to the sweetness of the chocolate and altogether was a winning dessert that I could have had all to myself.
We enjoyed Dishoom so much that we actually re-visited a week later to try a few more dishes.
One of my favourite starters is calamari and it’s a great indication as to whether a restaurant is any good. The calamari at Dishoom was beautiful with golden crispy batter, with added subtle spicing to lift the dish and a touch of lime to balance. The calamari itself was cooked to perfection with not a scrap that was overcooked.
Perfect is an understatement.
Trying something a little different, I decided to go for the lamb raan bun which is essentially an Indian take on a burger. Being a burger fan this was something that couldn’t missed but after everything I’ve tried at Dishoom, this dish was the biggest let-down.
The bun itself was on the dry side which did no favours to the lamb. The lamb itself, was missing a sweet, spicy sauce that would have lifted the lamb and without it, the bun was altogether dry and flavourless. The matchstick fries were so-so with a sprinkling of paprika. The coleslaw didn’t have enough mayonnaise, making it too bitter.
Regardless of the disappointment of the lamb raan bun, every other dish served at Dishoom was close to perfection, if not perfect. I was completely blown away by the quality of the food and even more so when the bill arrived and we were expecting to pay so much more. For lovers of Indian food I urge you to visit Dishoom. Stick to the starters and grills where you can mix and match and you’ll enter a treasure trove of delicately, spiced Indian food that you won’t be likely to forget.
– Dishoom, Shoreditch