Eagerly awaited Dishoom has finally opened in Manchester Hall, the 1920s Grade II listed building originally used as a Freemasons’ Hall. Like their other restaurants in London and Edinburgh, this newest member of the Dishoom family pays loving homage to the old Irani cafés of Bombay, with capacity for over 200 diners.
The main dining room is a grand space which can seat 150, with dark wooden furniture and colourful leather banquettes. There are specially commissioned portraits of the Indian Masons’ Grand Masters hanging around the room, and a large bar at one end illuminated by the original stained glass windows of the hall.
The all-day menus cover all the Dishoom favourites, from bacon naans to charred lamb chops. The latter – marinated in lime juice and jaggery, warm dark spices, ginger and garlic – is blackened by the grill but still juicy inside. The house black daal, cooked slowly for 24 hours, was dark, rich, and deeply flavoured. Chicken tikka is a family recipe, using a marinade of sweet vinegar rather than yoghurt, laced with ginger juice, turmeric, garlic and green chilli.
There’s a special dish exclusive to Manchester, too. Nalli nihari biryani is tender shank of lamb layered with rice and caramelised onions then sealed beneath a pastry blanket, served with a rich gravy on the side and raita enriched with chicken livers.
The bar also offers some bespoke tipples – Beram’s cobbler with mango, pineapple and dry manzanilla; and Chevalier’s sour, with raspberries, tamarind and Rangpur gin – alongside some cracking local beers.