Travels with My God Daughter – Dishoom Covent Garden:
Dishoom has been on my restaurant wishlist for a while now. I may not be any kind of expert on Indian cuisine, but the idea of a Bombay Cafe in the centre of London seemed smart. And, it comes recommended by a lot of people who know rather better than me.
We arrived at around 8.30pm on a Thursday evening to a queue. I hate queues. My god daughter – who is young enough, in theory, to be part of the culture that expects no-reservations and queues also hates queues. But, this queue didn’t seem so bad somehow. It’s partly a location thing, the pavement is quite wide and it’s possible to queue without getting in the way of people who are trying to get somewhere else, and partly the fact that the hostess pops upstairs with little glasses of warm chai. There’s nothing as good as a glass of chai if you are feeling a little stressed and fractious.
After about 20 minutes we were far enough to the front of the queue to be allowed downstairs to the bar. We ordered cocktails and waited…
Nothing arrived. It’s not a bad place to wait, there are bar stools and a counter to sit at, interesting pictures on the wall. But a drink would have been good.
And then after about another 20 minutes our cocktails arrived just in time to take to our table. That somehow was more irritating than the queue upstairs, though I am sure it is just that the restaurant was busy…
The menu at Dishoom is fashionably full of small plate dishes. And some of them are VERY good. So good in fact that they were nearly gone before I could take a photo. Spicy Okra is something I’ll definitely order again – and the samosas were well balanced and had a lovely crispy shell.
We ordered Chicken Ruby and Rajma Chawal for our main courses, together with a side order of Basmati rice and a bowl of greens.
For me, the Chicken Ruby was nothing out of the ordinary – good quality chicken in a nicely spiced hot sauce. Not too fat laden, it was very easy to eat and perfectly moreish.
What perhaps was a little out of the ordinary was that it is just £7.90 for a very large bowlful full of meat.
I loved the Rajma Chawal, a slow cooked kidney bean dish that was full of delicate spices, garnished with lemongrass and coriander and served with rice, a yoghurt dip and some chopped onions. It had a wonderful freshness but still managed to be the perfect comfort food for me.
The bowl of greens turned out to be a warm, rather than hot mixture of grilled broccoli, snow peas and spinach which the menu says is ‘tumbled with chilli, lime and a little butter’. Whatever, it was lovely and good side dish.
Service was efficient once we got past the bar although there were a few errors. And it did all feel a little frantic. Probably better for a larger group, who can book the comfortable booths.
The bill for everything, including 4 ‘bolly bellinis’, a large bottle of sparkling water and service came to a fraction over £68.00. Not bad for a night out in Central London – and food that is worth going back for more.
12 Upper St Martin’s Lane,
LONDON WC2H 9FB