Dishoom – An Irani style Bombay cafe

Are you a Londoner reading this or a traveller about to reach this ‘food and history’ paradise soon for a little adventure? I know your schedule is going to be packed with things to do and places to see, but do take out a few hours to feed your hungry tummy and soul…head straight to ‘Dishoom‘ in either Covent Garden,  King’s Cross or Shoreditch.  If you visit the one in Covent Garden, like I did, then you can club it with a show in West End too…we watched ‘The 39 steps’, which was hilarious and then followed it with a visit to the most talked about food place in 2015! This great event happened in February this year (you see, I live an hour away from London otherwise I would be going there at least once a month!!) and I had all intentions to write about this stunning food heaven straight away but lethargy won! Anyway, here I am, pouring my heart out to you about my experience in Dishoom. Also, in my excitement I forgot to take pictures of all the food I enjoyed, so, please pardon me but I have borrowed a few pictures from other admirers of this place to make up for this sin!

Seeing the restaurant’s signage from a distance got me so very excited! I couldn’t walk fast enough…I must warn you that you ought to prepare yourself to wait in a long, long queue before you can get a place to sit  inside to sample the food…we went in the middle of the week and had a long wait too..not nice, but I suppose speaks volumes for the place!  However, don’t let this put you off! You will be served the most soul-warming Indian style ‘chai’ in proper Indian style glasses and if this isn’t enough to push you into planning a trip to this lovely eatery, then think about the excitement you will feel if you get to rub shoulders with the likes of Nick Robinson (of the BBC), Clintons (of the USA fame), Meera Syal and several other celebrities…I think you would pass the time rather well….ogling and sipping ‘chai’.

Dishoom…the queue, the signage….it’s all happening now…I am almost there…the excitement
dishoom-cafe-london-chai-for-the people-in-queue
Indian style ‘chai’ being served to the patiently waiting in the queue…’Athithi Devo Bhava’…meaning, we Indians, treat our guests as God 🙂 Chai is a welcoming drink, indeed!

What struck me most about the place was more than just the food (though the food itself was sublime!), the decor was beautifully thought out too – simply ‘Bombay style‘, bollywood inspired and vintage…it made the dining experience extremely memorable; transported me straight to India and to my friend who grew up in Mumbai in the 1960s, it was a feeling of being ‘home’.

A marble top for a table with some cutlery and serviettes placed in the centre, it was clearly a place of ‘no gimmicks‘ but simple yet sensational food, that I had heard so much about and couldn’t wait to try! A trip to the toilet was rather interesting too…pictures of the likes of ‘Cinthol soap‘, ‘Lycil’ would make every person who grew up in India, smile from ear to ear. While I was taking in the decor of the place and the chitter-chatter of happy souls around me, the very polite and kind staff took the order. They even asked us to order less food as apparently their portion sizes are rather generous! I, of course, didn’t take their advice as I was rather excited about getting a ‘doggy bag’ packed for my lunch the following day too 🙂 The service was brilliant…staff asking to ensure we were happy with the food and service (not too much asking, I must state…just the right amount)…there was nothing I could fault with my experience there…I could go back there again and again and again…only if I lived a wee bit closer…

Hope you enjoy the tour, the food, the decor….so, here I go:

So bollywood, so vintage, just brilliant via
Salted Lassis and a Mango Lassi while we wait patiently (not!)
Makhni daal (worth living for!), Roomali roti (stunning!), paneer tikka and chutneys
The ‘bestest’ naan in the UK…just don’t take my word for it, try it!
The quintessential ‘vada pav’ ; the vada, the chutneys, the boondi  via
Spicy Okra at Dishoom..Okra chips to some and ‘besan waali bhindi’ to others…brilliant! via
The pudding menu;  My ‘Memsahib’s mess’ was the best version of any ‘Eton mess’ ever!!
Oh! the delicious  puddings! Memsahib’s mess and an extraordinary crumble via

Did this take you back in time? Made you remember the lovely food and time you had in Dishoom? I can’t wait to go back there myself! And for those of my lovely readers, who haven’t yet been there…think no more…get to Dishoom as soon as is physically possible and imagine sitting in a cosy Iranian cafe in Bombay in the 1960s…where people from all strata of society would sit together and enjoy the meals and the coffee…the decor, the simplicity of the place, the ‘no gimmicks’ food will make your trip to London so worth it…

Happy planning, people!

Shilpa xx


Cover image: via

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