SquareMeal Review of Dishoom Covent Garden
CLOSED FOR REFURBISHMENT UNTIL SUMMER 2020
Now with branches in Shoreditch, King’s Cross and Soho, Dishoom is going from strength to strength as its take on the café culture of old Bombay hits the spot with hungry Londoners. Quirky vintage styling includes bright Bollywood posters and formal family portraits, while pendant lamps and monochrome tiles keep things bang up to date in the bustling dining room. Drop in any time: you’ll find bacon naan rolls and sweet chai for breakfast, ahead of a reliable all-day menu that readers recommend as a “great standby for last-minute” dining. Highlights at Dishoom include an aromatic biryani dish of chicken berry Britannia, spiced lamb keema scooped up with buttery pau buns, and the “fantastic” house black dhal. The drinks list keeps up the good work, with lassis and craft beers, plus “different and delicious” cocktails to enjoy in the basement bar if you’re waiting for a table. “Reasonable prices” and “prompt service” too.
About Dishoom Covent Garden
The flagship Dishoom in Covent Garden is still a firm favourite for many loyal fans of the restaurant group despite its expansion across London and beyond by virtue of its unwavering popularity. Bringing an authentic taste of Indian street food to central London, Dishoom pays homage to the Irani cafés that were once an integral part of Bombay’s social culture.
The décor is reminiscent of post-colonial West India, complete with white glass pendulum lights, whirring ceiling fans, marble table tops and Art Deco tiling. On the walls, sepia stained family portraits and vintage advertising posters add to the sense of nostalgia which is reflected in the menu. Open from 8am in the morning until late at night, the restaurant prides itself on offering traditional comfort food that’s perfect for sharing at any time hunger strikes. It’s the relaxed fodder of many an Indian home and diners are encouraged to use their hands for the full authentic experience.
From the grill a selection of meat, vegetable and seafood kababs and tikkas combine aromatic marinades with the smoky charring of an open-fire. Elsewhere diners are spoilt for a choice with a selection of curries, biryani and small plates designed for sharing. The House Black Daal is a signature staple – cooked slowly for over 24 hours, it promises a dark and rich harmony of flavours. Unique to the Covent Garden site is chef’s Mutton Pepper Fry, a South Indian speciality which sees tender pieces of mutton marinated in spices and served with Malabar-style soft paratha.
The drinks list offers just as many delights with a wide array of alcoholic and virgin cocktails served at the table or in the stylish Permit Room downstairs. Look out for the Debonair, a Covent Garden special that blends orange, marmalade vodka, ginger, star anise bitters and orange cream soda. Naturally there is a good selection of IPA’s and beers to choose from as well as a reasonably priced list of red, white and sparkling wines.
Breakfast at Dishoom has become a bit of a ritual for those in the know, and many are prepared to queue from as early as 8am for a signature bacon naan roll. This humble breakfast has won many an accolade thanks to its streaky rashers, smoked overnight in traditional fashion. At weekends, a breakfast feast offers plentiful portions of everything for guests to help themselves.