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Dishoom (Restaurant)

Picture of Dishoom in West End, London

12 Upper St Martins Lane, Covent Garden, West End, London, WC2H 9FB
Cuisine: Indian
Tel: 02074209320 | Email to Dishoom | Transport: Leicester Square | Write review

Dishoom Review

Best for: Modern & traditional Indian cuisine, a West End breakfast, posh toilets

Great: tapas-style sharing dishes, Bhang Lassi

Central London has long been a land of contradictions - from the businessmen who’ve ditched their double espressos for an organic breakfast smoothie, to the yoga bunnies you’ll find permanently attached to their Blackberries. This mishmash of the city’s cultures has created a peculiar blend of the modern and the traditional, the innovative and the organic, and it’s not entirely unpleasant.

In fact, occasionally, you come across an example of where these conflicting philosophies merge to create something thoroughly enjoyable and utterly unique. Dishoom is one such example.

This Bombay Cafe serves traditional Indian cuisine – but not as we know it. Dishoom is certainly not for those who love to wash down a Chicken Tikka Masala with a bottle of Cobra amongst heavily carpeted walls in a dimly lit curry house. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy an intricately folded paper napkin as much as the next person, but Dishoom simply has so much more to offer.

Much of what makes this Dishoom so exceptional is the idea behind the restaurant. Following in the footsteps of the once hugely popular Bombay Cafes, it aims to recreate the “faded elegance” of these eateries of a bygone era, which welcomed everyone from students to families to lawyers – perfect for the West End’s miscellany of visitors, no?

They encourage the traditional sharing of dishes, with round tables and small plates similar to that which you might expect at a Tapas-style restaurant, proving that they can do social dining just as well as the Spanish. The hanging lights conjure a certain feeling of mystique, whilst the bare brick walls and friendly staff keep the atmosphere refreshingly unpretentious.

While restaurant bathrooms don’t, or at least, shouldn’t usually feature in my most memorable moments, the toilets at Dishoom are quite remarkable (no, really), with a showcase of retro toiletries on display amongst the burning incense and majestic furnishings.

In fact, the attention to detail throughout the decor is un-ignorable. I spend much of the time between ordering my food and waiting for it to arrive gazing at the crammed displays of vintage posters that line the walls, with beautiful Bollywood actresses and retro advertising from a time and place so very far removed from London’s Leicester Square. The rest of the time I spend suitably mesmerized by the open kitchen, watching our Roomali Roti being stretched and cooked over a hot dome before arriving fresh at our table.

This, and the rest of the food, was absolutely delicious. I’ve never had anything quite like their signature dish, the slow-cooked House Black Daal, which went especially well with the cool yoghurt Raita – particularly due to my slightly pathetic spice-threshold. They also offer a superb Calamari, which was a million miles from the onion ring-esque dish that is, unfortunately, served much more frequently elsewhere.

The fact that this is not your typical Indian restaurant runs all the way the through the menu. The venue opens early for the Bombay Breakfast Club, offering choices such as the House Porridge, which is naturally sweetened with dates and bananas, right through to the Full Bombay, complete with House Chai. Those making a visit later in the day might be tempted by the Bhang Lassi, a twist on the traditional drink that adds a dash of rum, or, my favourite, the Bollybellini – a delicious rose-flavoured cocktail. Even in the more standard menu items, the attention to detail is remarkable, right down to the Thumbs Up, Indian style coca cola.

Whilst Dishoom offers a glamorous and enchanting image of Bombay and its cafes, they are under no illusions about the reality of their heritage, and donate twenty pence from each bottle of purified table water towards helping to provide clean water to slums in Bombay. It’s this restaurant’s notable understanding of its origins and enthusiastic vision for the future that draws together London’s many contradictory characters in order to achieve an extraordinary dining experience.
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Customer Reviews for Dishoom

Average (based on 2 votes): 2 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Dishoom.

“dishoom was a big disappointment, we had a booking for 2 and we had to wait 2 hours for our table. We should have just left knowing that the food was not going to be as great as it claims to be. Our server was over stretched managing a number of tables so again we had to wait to be served. Our mains arrived before starters and drinks just arrived as we ordered our tea. The food wasn't exceptional- cold starters. Complete disorganization. The evening was nothing but a big let down, Dishoom is a indian restaurant trying to claim west end prestige but better off being located on your high street- at least with high street restaurants you know what to expect”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
sunisekhon, London (8 years 4 months 4 days ago)

“we went here the other night and had a really lovely meal! all the staff were very polite and helpful, and the food was amazing - perfect for something a bit different when eating out in london! i would certainly recommend this place to friends, and hope to visit again soon.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
sarah, hornchurch (8 years 10 months ago)

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Loved

"Extremely RUDE staff Joanna who is GROSS and Uneducated and very unprofessional!! She is jealous of white customers and refuses to serve them. This Rude Joanna is disgraceful and mental!! She is NOT FIT..." Which venue is this?

Hated

"Extremely RUDE staff Joanna who is GROSS and Uneducated and very unprofessional!! She is jealous of white customers and refuses to serve them. This Rude Joanna is disgraceful and mental!! She is NOT FIT..." Which venue is this?

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