Review: Dishoom, London

When I’m visiting somewhere I love stumbling across new places that I’d never have found otherwise. It’s a great way to explore and makes everything feel a little more spontaneous. However, if I’ve heard good things about somewhere then I’m not going to be one to turn down an opportunity to go. After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush right?! When I was last in London my friends suggested heading to Dishoom for dinner and I just couldn’t resist it, despite the fact I knew it was going to be very busy without a recommendation. I’d only attempted to go once before and had been put off by the queue then, so decided that this time I would wait it out.

Is it worth the queue?

Obviously if you can book ahead and avoid queueing then that’s the best position that you can be in. However, if it’s a last minute decision to go to Dishoom and you know you want to go then I would wait it out. It was raining when we arrived and we were warned we’d have to wait about half an hour. However, the staff were on hand with umbrellas to keep us dry, and a choice of chai or green tea to warm us up.

If you are queueing you might be offered a “fast track table” to allow you in faster. This happened to us, although we didn’t really realise at the time. What it meant was that we were given a less desirable table (right by the toilets) but were let in much quicker. Otherwise we would have had to have waited for longer. It didn’t bother us too much as it meant we were served faster, and then weren’t hassled for our table once we had finished.

What is Dishoom like?

We went to the Dishoom at King’s Cross (there are multiple restaurants in London) and when we got inside it was much larger than I expected, spanning over several floors. I was very taken by the contemporary industrial style of design inside the building – it was very different to any other Indian restaurant that I’ve been to before.

It is inspired by the old Irani cafes of Bombay. I hadn’t realised, but apparently immigrants from Iran opened multitudes of cafes which were welcoming to all. In the 1960s there were almost 400 cafes like this, whereas now there are fewer than 30.

Dishoom is the sort of place that I’d recommend going for a special occasion. It’s a great place to go as a group so that you can share the different dishes between you and try as much as possible! Having never been before, and liking the look of most things on the menu, we left our very capable friends to order for us all. We had six dishes between the four of us, plus some basmati rice and garlic naan. If you are unsure of how much to order for the group then I would recommend asking one of the very helpful waiting staff.

What was the food like?

We ordered a selection of vegetarian and chicken dishes, choosing items from the milder spectrum of the menu as I’m not very good with too much spice. We had Murgh Malai, Paneer Tikka, House Black Daal (apparently a must if you ever eat here), Jackfruit Biryani, Chicken Ruby and a bowl of greens. It’s difficult to pick out a favourite of the different dishes that we tried as they were all different, but complimented each other really well. It was good to have a mix of vegetarian and meat dishes, and a mix of those which came in a sauce and those that didn’t. Although it had a bit more of a kick to it I really enjoyed the Chicken Ruby as the depth of flavour was fantastic and it was very moreish. The Murgh Malai (chicken thighs steeped overnight in garlic, ginger, coriander stems and a little cream) was also delicious and accompanied the Daal particularly well.

Meal at Dishoom

Whilst what we had to eat was plenty, we couldn’t resist trying out the dessert menu. I went for a Mango Kulfi (like a creamy ice lolly) which was very refreshing and acted as a good palette cleanser after all the different flavours from the main course. James opted for the Dishoom Chocolate Pudding. I clearly had to try some and it was lovely – very rich and gooey, just the way I like my chocolate puddings. He had it with chilli ice cream which our friends had recommended we try. I’ve never come across chilli ice cream before so I was a little apprehensive… It wasn’t spicy but it definitely tasted of chilli, it was a little odd. I much preferred the cinnamon ice cream and felt like it complimented the chocolate better.

I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Dishoom and would happily go again. I always have the problem when I go to London of wanting to try new places, but I also discover places that I want to return to again and again (Hummus Bros is still a favourite!). Perhaps next time I’ll go to a Dishoom in a different location and convince myself it’s still somewhere new! There were certainly plenty of options on the menu so I could easily go again without having the same meal. Which restaurants would you recommend in London?

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