The good folk of Dishoom have attempted to bring a Bombay Café to Covent Garden, with varying success. The end result is a buzzing, lively restaurant which does not take reservations (obviously) and serves a wild selection of properly Indian dishes and pretending-to-be-Indian dishes from within a sepia-walled basement.
We arrived at 9pm on a Saturday night, and were told there’d be an hour wait, but that was fine by us once we saw the very interesting drinks list. There’s a Bombay Pimm’s, a Bollybellini (absolutely delicious), a Chilli Martini and even a Chaijito (bit odd), all averagely priced for the area at £7-£8.
It wasn’t an hour as it turned out – this was a soulless lie. It was about 20 minutes. And so we ventured into the restaurant, where we found ourselves completely surrounded by walls of old Bollywood advertising that appeared to have encountered Instagram somewhere along the way. I’ll put that aside though, because wannabe-hipster or not the restaurant has that great, lively atmosphere that most local curry houses don’t.
Service was hilariously fast – they want you to order and they want you to do it now. The food is then ‘dishoomed to your table’ when it’s ready – as we found out when we were served starters and main courses within 5 minutes of each other. Despite this mild annoyance though the food we tried was all very impressive…
The okra fries were a new discovery, and a very popular one. Crispy and deep fried with Indian spices. The boy was quite taken with the skate cheeks, too – served with date and tamarind chutney. You see – not really Indian is it?
For mains we went a bit further towards Bombay – ordering Chicken Tikka and Lamb Sheekh Kebab with Dishoom’s signature Black Daal and Rice. The daal was fantastic – smokey, buttery and rich. Chicken was delicious, and a little different as Dishoom marinate their chicks in sweet vinegar, rather than yoghurt. Lamb was a little overcooked we thought, though.
The Verdict: A brilliant concept, fairly pricey but worth it. Try the cocktails!
Gluten Free? Yes – click here for their gluten free menu.