Covent Garden is changing dramatically and attracting a whole new host of restaurants, shops and bars. Upper St Martin’s Lane has seen the recent opening of three new restaurants, Cantina Laredo, Jamie’s Italian and Dishoom, all very different and all very stylish. While I haven’t been to Cantina Laredo or Jamie’s Italian yet, I made it to Dishoom this week and really enjoyed everything it had to offer.
Dishoom is London’s first Bombay café reminding me of the city’s bustling yet fragrant brasseries. Back in the day there were over 400 cafés in Bombay, today there are a mere 30 and Dishoom is aiming to capture some of this tradition for Londoners to experience.
Although there was a small queue when we arrived, the staff brought us a delicious fragrant chai which was a nice surprise and made the wait go far quicker than expected.
Inside the decor is stylish, it has low lights, vintage framed photographs of Mumbai, a bustling open kitchen at the back and shiny black furniture.
We were there for dinner and with such affordable prices we tried as many dishes as we could. Everything is made for sharing, there are small plates such as the delicious Pau Bahji (£3.90), mashed vegetables with hot buttered bread chowpatti style, light fluffy samosas (from £2.90) and also the zesty and crispy Dishoom’s calamari (£4.50).
The grills are outstanding, the meat is marinated and grilled on charcoal. We chose the Dishoom Chicken Tikka (£6.50) which was tender, juicy and full of flavour. The house dahl divided us though, my friend thought it was too “desserty” whilst I found it scrumptious. The house black dahl (£4.50) was indeed a bit sweet but the perfect comfort food and eaten with garlic naan it was the ideal combination.
Dishoom also offers “Ruby of the Day” curries (£7.90) which change daily and cater for vegetarians as well as meat lovers. We regrettably did not try the roomali roti (£1.70) and when we saw our neighbours sharing theirs we immediately thought of our next visit just for that, that is how good it looked!
A special mention to the cocktails (From £4.90) – They were all irresistible! Rest assured we did not empty the bar, we only tried the Bollybellini, a fragrant combination of sparkling wine with rose, lychee and raspberry that I would definitely choose again! The names of all the others were equally enticing though with names such as Chaijito, Bombalada, St Martini and Café Mary. The cocktails all have very unique ingredients such as chai infused rum or Ashwaghanda (a virility promoting Indian ginseng!) and Darjeeling tea, a fresh approach to drinks that you are more likely to encounter in a dedicated cocktail bar. Don’t miss the chai and lassis of course too…
Dishoom serves food from 8 am in the morning (10am on weekends) till 11pm night. Breakfast includes house porridge (£3.50), granola (£4.90), cinnamon rolls all served with spicy chai whilst for lunch you can enjoy a roomali roll affair (from £6.50), freshly baked rotis with lamb tikka or chicken dishoom or malai as well as paneer and mushroom for vegetarians. There are soups and salads too all full of fresh fragrant herbs and spices.
Dishoom -12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB. Reservations are not required but if you want to book, call 020 7420 9320.
By Lottie L’Epicurienne