4th December 2016 10.30am
We had originally tried to go here earlier in the week but with the 50% off ‘soft launch’ it meant queues of an hour and a half so I was grateful to have had a brunch invite so I could finally get to eat here, as I had been hearing fantastic things from friends and fellow foodies alike. Set on St Andrew Square, Dishoom is situated over three floors. The basement houses a bar called the Permit Room (based on the fact that prohibition still exists in India and a permit often must be sought in order to consume alcohol), the ground floor is the kitchen and the first floor is the main dining room. The place is chock-a-block with original artefacts and photos, including some lovely 1930’s theatre lights. A heck of a lot of effort has gone into this place. It shows in the staff too. Every single staff member I passed as we were led to our table said hello. They know their stuff too, with all staff taken to the London branch for a month to learn everything they need to know. Anyway, enough of that for now and down to the food and drink.
We all got a round of bloody marys to start. These were of a very generous size and really were spot on. I like a bit of spice in my bloody mary but a fellow diner wanted hers a bit milder and they were happy to oblige. We all ordered something from the cooked menu and then we got some of their naan rolls and fruit with yoghurt to share. A few of us also ordered some of the sides available too. I had chosen the keema per eedu, which is a Parsi breakfast of spicy chicken keema with chicken livers, topped with two fried eggs, Sali crisp chips and pau (a sweetish bread, traditionally made with the feet – but not this time!). As you can imagine, I was salivating at the thought!
As we were all food bloggers and photographers, when the food came there was lots of moving plates around to get the best angle (although I have to admit I am more of a point and click girl myself) but this was beautiful food to photograph. This is not fussy, over stylised food but it certainly is inviting. My keema was delivered on a wooden board in a little pot, with the pau on the side. Cutting into the egg released the beautiful golden yolk into the keema. We were advised that the best way to eat the pau was by using it like a roti or a naan to scoop up your food. This worked really well but was just as delicious on it’s own. Pau is also eaten dunked in chai, so I gave that a go too and it tasted surprisingly nice. The keema itself was beautifully spiced. The meat was full of flavour and the liver portions generous. The Sali chips added some fabulous crunch to proceedings. All in all a triumph. I also had a bit of the bacon and egg naan (something I think I would normally go for when time is short). This was so much better than your normal breakfast roll. I love a naan at the best of times but this was just something else. From the menu I could see that the bacon and sausages in the breakfasts are sourced from Ramsay of Carluke. There was also chilli jam to spice up the dish should you wish. I’ll be honest now, I didn’t have any of the fruit and yoghurt as I was stuffed but it looked nice and the yoghurt was spiced.
From here on in it was just cocktails. I sampled a further three but some were still going when I left. First we all had a Dhoble (named after the Assistant Commissioner Chief of Bombay Police who kept stopping people drinking) which contained orange juice, gin, maraschino liqueur and a squeeze of lemon. This was excellent and quite refreshing. We also had a gimlet and a pila house sling. For those of us who had not already been, we got a tour of the permit room, which is open til 3am every night. A very sophisticated way to drink into the wee hours.
I have to say the hype is truly justified for Dishoom. The food was exquisite and the staff friendly. Dishoom is a restaurant without stuffiness. It just wants you to have a good time. Bookings will start from January as will take away, but you can always pop in without booking for now. I am already planning my next trip.
Food – 10/10
Service – 10/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Value – 9.5/10
Overall – 38.5/40
Would I eat here again? In a heartbeat
Cost – the meal was complimentary but breakfast naan rolls vary from £4.20 to £5.90 and cooked breakfasts £5.50 to £10.90. Cocktails around the £8 mark.
Please note that whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Sara and Ally from Dishoom for being so hospitable and to Jen from Lux for organising.