Dishoom is a rather fashionable Indian restaurant with several branches in expectedly fashionable spots across London – Shoreditch, Carnaby, Covent Garden, and the burgeoning Granary Square area of Kings Cross. The restaurants are in the form of classic Irani cafes, and each restaurants décor is a sight to behold. I couldn’t do them justice, but, essentially, the décor does a really good job of outwardly transporting you to the classic Irani café-bars, and allows the food to do the rest. Each restaurant’s menu is essentially similar, beyond the specials on offer, so this blog, which is mainly focused on our most recent visit to the Carnaby restaurant, can be somewhat generalised for the other three restaurants.
Our initial plan wasn’t actually to visit Dishoom. We had a late dinner reserved at a restaurant in Oxford Circus, as Shiima was to finish work late, but when we arrived at the restaurant we were told the robata grill was closed; this was just past 9PM. We decided to leave and look for a nearby restaurant … we were undecided about restaurants on James Street, and while walking towards Soho, we suddenly decided on Dishoom Carnaby. This was approaching 10PM, but Dishoom was still very busy. The hostess told us that our wait would be about 30 minutes, and we were led to the bar. The wait wasn’t 30 minutes, maybe half that, but it gave us time to decide on our order. Soon as we were led to our table, opposite the exquisite verandah, we made our order. Shiima ordered vegetable samosas, chicken ruby, with basmati rice, raita, and naan bread. I ordered lamb samosas, calamari, prawn koliwada, spicy lamb chops, and chicken tikka. A lot, I know lol.
The first four dishes arrived together – vegetable samosas, lamb samosas, calamari, and prawn koliwada. The samosas are simply amongst the best I’ve eaten. The pastry is light, crunchy, and tasty on its own, but the fillings are delicious. The lamb samosas are of the spicy variety, while the vegetable samosas is slightly sweet but still spicy. Same with the prawn koliwada and the calamari, which are spicy and slightly sweet respectively. Both are lightly fried and utterly moreish. Oh, and it goes fantastically well with the three chutneys provided – mint & coriander, tamarind & date, and err … cant remember what’s in the last one, but it’s tomato based, I think lol.
The main dishes arrived soon after, and I immediately devoured the aesthetically pleasing spicy lamb chops. Now, make no mistake, these lamb chops weren’t at all spicy, at least not in my estimation, but there were succulent and delicious. A good portion too … three chops. The chicken tikka as well wasn’t spicy, but like the lamb chops there were delicious. Nicely marinated and very well cooked pieces of chicken thighs that went well with Shiima’s rich and cool raita. Shiima’s chicken ruby had the most flavour of the dishes; the chicken thigh pieces were tender, and the curry itself is immensely tasty. We enjoyed dipping pieces of the fresh naan bread in the curry and the raita. Basmati rice is basmati rice, a good indian restaurant cant fail at this, and Dishoom is a top echelon indian restaurant that gets all the small things just right, although it does lack that heat that I crave.
The dessert menu did intrigue me, it always does, but I’m always too full to indulge … maybe next time lol. My experience in Dishoom Carnaby was really good, as every experience in Dishoom has been. I’m partial to Dishoom Shoreditch, because of the lamb raan special, which is amazing. Expect queues at Dishoom if you go in the evenings or on weekends. Also they do brunch, which is also really good, but will be a subject for another blog post. Dishoom is moderately priced, we did order a lot, and although we didn’t drink any alcohol (we did have two virgin chaijito – a variant of mojito), the price was just about £30 each. I recommend for almost everything – dates, special occasions, foodies, large groups, meal with colleagues, chilled business meal, brunch… on and on lol.
Dress Code: Casual
Amen’s Star Dish: Lamb Samosas
Shiima’s Star Dish: Vegetable Samosas
Price: £25 each (excluding alcohol)
Rating: 4.9 out of 5