Dishoom Carnaby

Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Dishoom Carnaby

Silver Award

A vibrant menu? Check. Queues for dinner? Check. Kitsch Bombay nostalgia? Check. It’s business as usual at Dishoom’s Carnaby branch, but that’s as it should be. Dishoom has really taken off in recent years, with branches opening in a number of cities outside London, but it’s heartening to know that it remains true to its principles. The concept – to pay homage to Bombay’s once ubiquitous Irani cafés which brought people from all walks of life together over food and drink – is as evident here, today, as it was when Dishoom opened its very first restaurant in Covent Garden.  

Styling in this sprawling ground-floor bar-restaurant on Kingly Street is inspired by the 1960s: Brimful of Asha in four dimensions. Professional yet friendly staff galvanise the buzzy atmosphere, advising on their favourite dishes and making recommendations, until you’re so immersed you may forget, momentarily, that you’re in central London.

Breakfast and brunch is prime time at Dishoom Carnaby, with punters queuing up for the likes of a bacon, egg or vegan sausage naan roll, a bowl of creamy date and banana porridge or a freshly-baked pau bun dipped in hot chai. Mild spicing characterises the all-day menu of small plates, grills, curries and biryanis, that also caters to children, vegetarians, vegans and anyone gluten-free. Comfort food is a highlight: whether deeply creamy black dhal, a Roomali roti roll loaded with paneer and mint chutney, or buttery pau bhaji. Finish up with a tooth-achingly sweet dessert such as syrup-soaked gulab jamun, or a serving of cooling kulfi.

The spiced cocktail list includes bottle-aged options; wines focus on Europe; and the house chai (served to the often hour-long queue outside) is delicious. With evening reservations for six diners or more only, Dishoom is ideal for parties: it certainly has the requisite vibes, flavours and drinks.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Eat at Home
Home delivery, Takeaway service
Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
All day dining, Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Late night dining, Lunch
Special Features
Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Dates, Group dining [8+], Special occasions


Inspired by the early Irani cafés of downtown Bombay, Dishoom offers all day Indian dining from their renowned breakfast naans to warming late night daals. The Carnaby branch on lively Kingly Street stays true to the brand’s infamous quirky style, complete with colonial décor and old-school glamour. Expect colourful retro furniture, vintage Bollywood posters and a juke box playing a selection of favourite rock ‘n’ roll hits from the swinging sixties.

Dishoom is as much about transporting you to a different era as it is about introducing top-tasting Bombay street food to hungry London diners. Its unconventional breakfast offering sees people queuing down the street from 8am for bacon naan rolls (also available for takeaway) and an unlimited supply of date and banana porridge.

Come lunch and dinner, the menu opens up to include a wider selection of curries, biryanis, and a range of traditional choices from the grill such as smoky gunpowder potatoes, paneer pineapple tikka and masala prawns. Exclusive to the Carnaby menu is Salli Boti, a warming braised lamb dish in rich aromatic gravy served with crunchy sali crisp-chips and roomali roti (a thin, buttery flatbread). For those in search of something lighter, the wide selection of small plates, salads and veggie sides are perfect for sharing. Look out for crispy lamb and vegetable samosas, okra fries and the signature Pau bhaji – a bowl of mashed vegetables served with a hot, buttered, home-made bun.  

The Permit Room is a swish bar setting for exploring Dishoom’s enticing ‘prohibition’ cocktail list which includes a selection of slings, coolers, fizzes, sours and fancies. Favourites include the East India Gimlet devised for sailors to evade scurvy and the classic Dishoom Espresso Martini for a smooth and decadent pick-me-up. The drinks menu also comprises an interesting selection of affordable wines, beers and ciders and non-drinkers will be spoilt for choice with the selection of lassis, old-fashioned sharbats, ‘copy tipples’, and virgin coolers to try.


22 Kingly Street, Soho, London, W1B 5QB

020 7420 9322 020 7420 9322


Opening Times

All day
Mon 08:00-23:00
Tue 08:00-23:00
Wed 08:00-23:00
Thu 08:00-23:00
Fri 08:00-00:00
Sat 09:00-00:00
Sun 09:00-23:00


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15 Reviews 

Sallinder R

24 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Exceptional food and service 

Sejal P

23 November 2022  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5

Fab everything 


12 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 0

Will is the best bartender ever - give him a pay rise !!! 

Thomas L

26 July 2019  
Top quality food served by young and unpretentious staff. A great value for excellent British Indian cuisine.

Alex G

17 July 2019  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4
Value 5
Love at first sight

That there always seem to be queues outside every branch of Dishoom I have attempted to visit must surely be a sign that the operators of this now 7-strong chain must have hit upon a winning formula. Luckily enough my wait ended earlier this week when I lost my Dishoom virginity by visiting their Carnaby Street branch. There was no let-down, no anti-climax, just a desire to return. The angle behind Dishoom is a simple one: to recreate the old Irani café culture of Bombay. At peak, some 400 such venues could be found in the city, a legacy of the large migrant community then present. Their purpose was to allow people to meet and mingle in an informal fashion over food and drink. This ethos is reflected faithfully in the design of Dishoom venues, or certainly the one I visited. The Carnaby location is capacious with a healthy dose of kitsch and 1960s bric-a-bac. What could appear trite or forced seems natural here, part of a relaxed vibe that Dishoom successfully pulls off. Business people, couples, families and tourists seemingly happily occupied adjacent tables when we visited. Our helpful and informative server guided us through what appears at first glance to be a complicated menu. Dishoom could work on its visuals, with over 50 listings packed into 4 columns of small print across one page of paper! The basic formula, we were told, was to nibble over a small dish (everything is intended for sharing) while considering a couple of larger mains and perhaps a vegetable side. More than 24 hours on from our visit, I am still salivating over the taste of the chilli chicken dish with which we began. It seemingly took in both Indian and Chinese influences with intense flavours of garlic, ginger and soy dominant. Each piece of meat was succulent and flavoursome. Onto the mains and we opted for a masala prawn dish as well as the restaurant’s special, a ‘salli boti.’ We were informed that this latter dish comprised slow-cooked (for over eight hours) lamb, which was braised in a rich and flavoursome gravy. Comfort food at its best, particularly when combined with a deliciously buttered roti. Full marks too for our prawns and also for the green chilli side. Like their Spanish cousin, the Padron pepper, some were hot and others were not – an innovation, even if not for all. We both took soft drinks with our food (a lassi for my comrade and a Limca – a fizzy lemon drink indigenous to Bombay – for me), but even with these, the biggest pleasant surprise was the bill. All the above clocked in at just £25/ head. Even if the prices were higher, I would happily return!

Lisa C

28 June 2019  
Great atmosphere, friendly staff and FAB food. Need an excuse to keep returning.

Trishelle T

28 June 2019  
Delicious food and drinks.


31 July 2018  
Amazing food & drinks, interesting venue & always a hit with groups!


15 June 2017  
Consistently great food, service and atmosphere. What started as a casual work lunch has turned into a full obsession. Can't get enough of this place!

Gabby M

28 May 2017  
Service is always brilliant. Decor takes you right to the heart of India. And the food never fails to deliver.
Delivery or takeaway

Order takeaway from Dishoom Carnaby by calling 020 7420 9322.
Bookings not required

Reservations are not required at Dishoom Carnaby.

If you'd like to speak to someone to discuss dining or any other query, call:

020 7420 9322 020 7420 9322

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