I had a brain wave last weekend. I was at Dishoom in Covent Garden with Mani and I said to him subconsciously ‘I should really write about all the amazing Asian restaurants that we’ve been to in London’ and so I picked up the menu from Dishoom as we left and this is the result. To give you a short introduction, my husband is from Lahore, Pakistan and he is passionate about good food. I don’t know who is more happy about the fact that I too adore Asian cuisine, him or I! For the last 18 months I have been introduced to the quality and variety of Asian food and I am amazed at what can be created from variations of the same basic ingredients. I always loved the rare occurrence of a curry as a teenager, but back then in the countryside I used to think that a takeaway curry box from Asda was a treat… how I was naive!
Last weekend we found ourselves in Covent Garden looking for somewhere to eat after spending the afternoon at the Natural History Museum. We walked past Steak & co, Carluccio’s, Five Guys and nothing really jumped out at us (not that these aren’t all great). We then turned the corner on to Upper St Martins and there we found Dishoom, the ‘Bombay Café in London’ with a small queue outside. Mani started laughing as we approached Dishoom, and he told me that when he was little, Dishoom is the word that small kids would say when they were pretending to fire a pretend gun. I always thought it was just a sound and not a real word, but you learn something new every day! Anyway I digress… We had a look at the menu and both knew this was where we were having dinner.
We went for the chef special of Haleem, which is a thick curry of lamb, wheat, barley and lentils, which are slow cooked for hours together to make a beautiful dish. It was served with green chillies, ginger, fried onions, lemon and mint to scatter on top with sesame-onion seed naan. I wish that my phone hadn’t of ran out of battery so I could have provided a picture as it looked as good as it tasted! To accompany the main we also chose the Chicken Berry Britannia (Biryani). Very delicious, this is Dishoom’s take on the classic chicken biryani, with cranberries. Two mains was more than enough for both of us and we left feeling full to the brim and very satisfied! I would recommend this place to anyone in the Covent Garden area, the food was so good and it’s clear why they are full most of the time with a 15 minute wait outside for a table. The staff were really accommodating and they offer you a cup of water while you wait outside with a pager that buzzes when your table is ready.
The restaurant itself is also quite beautiful. There are three seating options, inside, outside or downstairs. The decoration fused old fashioned Asian ornaments such as old photographs lining the walls and medicine cabinets filled with traditional oils, balms and medicines, with quirky modern decor such as long- hanging lights, metal grates to divide the tables and plants scattered around. When searching for the toilets I found there is a basement level restaurant and a small bar, where groups can sit in low ceilinged alcoves for an intimate dinner. The toilets are also memorably quirky, with the signs on the doors featuring the typically asian eyes of a man and a woman. The toilets are centred around the sinks and then you take little alleys off to the cubicles.
I’ve been to a fair few Asian restaurants across London and Dishoom is definitely on my list to visit again next time I’m in Covent Garden! I’m going to try and evolve my blog a little in the coming weeks to feature more reviews on what I do and where I go in London. This is my first restaurant review so please like and leave comments if you enjoyed reading.