Dishoom is tapas Bombay style, or something along those lines. Wee plates of spicy goodness which my Indian co-diner insisted were highly authentic. So far so good then. And that’s before I discovered the chilli-infused heaven that is a St. Martini.
Dishoom, a stone’s throw from Seven Dials and next door to Jamie’s Italian, is a bright and breezy large bar, kitchen and dining room festooned in kitsch Bollywood memorabilia and 50s diner aesthetics. The open plan kitchen is fun to watch without invading the room, with the most entertaining chef (the one who whirls the Roti about above his head) is rightfully given the most prominence.
Aside from the overly-enthusiastic waiters, the service is fast and good. The food is of very high quality, lacking the grease and oil so commonly found in budget Indian eateries. This is like the Polpo of London curry houses. And it prepares killer cocktails. The St. Martini is a powerful, and oddly creamy tasting pomegranate martini infused with lots of chilli and served with a lemon twist. The superb Chaijito does exactly what it says on the tin. Chai as a mojito, limes and all. Confusingly yum.
On to the food… The roti is thin, pillowy, soft and comforting – like a mamma’s bosom. Bombay bangers, or rather, mini sausages with roasted onions were the least exciting dish served, but tasty and moreish all the same. The Pau Bhaji dispappeared in seconds, a smooth mash of onions and veggies served up with what looked like buttered English muffins.
We followed with Lamb Boti Kabab, tender and garlicky. The Ruby Murray (read “special”) of the day, was a chicken with spinach that was literally falling off the bone and a sweet, nutty dal of black lentils got scooped up by the aforementioned roti and soft nan before you could say “mango lassi”. And on the subject of lassis, here they are served as ice-lollies, which is apparently as they are supposed to be served, rather than as the Starbucks smoothie-type drink you normally find.
In fact, you could almost forgo the food and just narf cocktails all night. Which is my plan for the next time…