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Emma Bartholomew, Senior Reporter
Thursday, January 3, 2013
It’s rare to find a restaurant you feel offers a really novel concept in food – but Dishoom excited me so much I returned twice more the same week.
The trendy warehouse-style restaurant in Boundary Street pays homage to traditional Irani cafes in Bombay, with colonial touches like antique-looking family photos adorned with beads and vintage fans amidst the decayed looking walls.
This dimly-lit curry house with a difference really challenges your tastebuds, and is far removed from the processed food dished up in many of the Brick Lane establishments just round the corner.
The Bhel salad starter priced at a reasonable £3.90 immediately caught my tastebuds’ attention, with the freshness of the pomegranate mixed with Bombay mix creating an unusually delicious crunchy texture.
Our friendly waiter Donates warned us the food was spicy and he was right – the best tongue-tingling lamb samosas priced at £4.20 came with three freshly made dips, cool and refreshing mint and coriander, sweet and sour tamarind and a chilli and garlic which was spicy – very spicy.
One word of warning, service is very quick and starters, which are called small plates, and mains arrive simultaneously, so it’s best to order when you want to eat something rather than in the traditional way.
Spicy lamb chops priced at £11.50 were incredibly succulent and I was surprised to find lime as a predominant flavour in Indian food – something I expect of Thai dishes.
The Murgh Malai, or chicken steeped overnight in garlic, ginger, coriander and cream, priced at £6.90, was recommended because it was not as spicy and was really aromatic.
The lamb biriyani, priced at £8.90 was massive and plenty enough to share, while Dishoom’s signature house black dahl, priced at £4.90, was every bit as creamy as promised.
On to deserts, the Kala Khatta Gola ice, at £2.90, is apparently a traditional Bombay desert black salt and chilli providing a kick to the sweet ice. Apparently you either love it or hate it – my friend and I perfectly demonstrating the trend, I was the one that loved it for its intriguingly bizarreness.
Meanwhile a pineapple and black pepper crumble, priced at £5.20 gave a unique twist on the mainstream desert, with really succulent juicy fruit.
Service is so friendly the place almost feels like a cult, a myriad of staff said hello to us on the way in, and you might walk past seven on your way to the toilet, every single one of whom greets you on your way.
Donates’ enthusiasm and knowledge of the menu really added to our enjoyment of the evening, and he even saved us from disaster, stepping in like a flash of light when our menu caught on fire.
I appreciated him egging us on to having a house chai tea, priced at £2.50, it was the best kind of chai, not too sweet, a bit spicy but perfectly comforting.
Alcoholic drinks are equally inspiring, I went for a Bollybellini cocktail, at £7.20 and the raspberry and lychee, rose and cardamom mixed with a nice Prosecco was right up my street.
Open from morning till night, Dishoom serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and prices are incredibly reasonable.
This place is really something else and it’s not surprising the massive three-floor space is already full with punters not long after opening.