SquareMeal Review of Dishoom Edinburgh
"Completely incredible food and service"; "reminds me of Mumbai"; "one of my favourite pop-in places" – readers simply can't get enough of Dishoom and its "wonder colonial decor". Whether it's a breakfast of bacon naans and chilli jam (with bottomless chai tea during the week) or dinner with "creative" Asian-themed cocktails such as the Bollybellini, this branch of the four-strong group delivers in spades. We're hooked on the keema pau (minced spiced lamb in a buttered bun) and the signature black dhal, but other items are well worth a punt – including the mahi (fish) tikka, the fried batura bread with chickpeas or the famous chicken berry Britannia (a biryani riff with cranberries), with kulfi on a stick to finish. The only problem is getting a table in the first place: bookings are only taken for groups of six or more, otherwise you need to queue. Even so, this is a "must-visit".
About Dishoom Edinburgh
Arguably the most attractive of all the Dishoom locations with its quirky colonial décor complete with Bentwood chairs, leafy corners, mahogany bookcases and window seats overlooking St Andrew’s Square; Dishoom Edinburgh was the chain’s first outlet outside of London. The restaurant’s design and the artwork adorning the walls pay homage to Sir Patrick Geddes; a Scottish botanist and sociologist whose great work improving living conditions in the Scottish capital led him to found the department of Sociology & Civics at Bombay University in 1915. Now a firm favourite on the Edinburgh dining scene, the restaurant offers food and drinks inspired by the early Irani cafés that populated the streets of old Bombay.
Start with a tipple in the classy low-lit basement bar of this three-storey building. A Scottish special comes in the form of Horniman’s Old-Fashioned – a smoked oak-aged rum blended with pineapple syrup and bitters. Classics from the cocktail list include the Chai Paanch, East India Gimlet and Dishoom Espresso Martini but there are plenty of non-alcoholic options too with a list of Sharbats, Copy Tipples, lassis and coolers to pick from.
The food menu is every bit as exciting with a whole host of authentic Indian dishes from curries to salads and everything in between. Chef’s Edinburgh special is Salli Boti – a Parsi classic of tender lamb braised in a rich and flavoursome gravy and finished with crunchy salli crisp-chips. It comes served with a light and buttery roomali roti and can be ordered as a half or full plate depending on your appetite. Murgh Malai is a highlight for meat-eaters – chicken thighs marinated in garlic, ginger coriander and cream then flashed on the grill, and for vegetarians the house black daal is a much-loved signature.
As with the other sites, breakfast is a popular occasion at Dishoom and if you’re not looking to takeaway then booking is recommended. The bacon naan roll has earnt a worthy reputation but for something more intrepid try the Keema Per Eedu – chicken keema studded with delicate morsels of chicken liver, topped with two runny-yolked fried eggs and Sali crisp-chips, served with fluffy home-baked buns.