I’d heard great things about Dishoom, the ‘Bombay cafe in London’ and had been meaning to check out their pop-up restaurant at the Southbank Centre.
So a couple of weeks ago, after an afternoon of throwing shapes at Jazzy Jay’s Hip Hop Block Party in Queen Elizabeth Hall, our group of 3 adults and 2 babes popped into Dishoom for refuelling.
It was a little brisk that evening, so we chose not to sit outside on Dishoom’s ‘Chowpatty Beach’, a stretch of chairs and tables overlooking sand that’s an homage to the famous Bombay destination.
Still, the interior of Dishoom offers plenty of eye candy, with day glo bar and eccentric wall art, along with a hip ambient soundtrack.
The babes were excited to clamber up onto tall chairs (don’t expect a high-chair, this is not your typical family-friendly diner). There’s no set kids’ menu but on request, they do suggest dishes for children.
Ezra and Jed had the Sausage Naan roll – a fat Cumberland sausage in chilli jam (not hot) wrapped in naan bread. Jed was silent (a good sign) as he devoured his sandwich, while Ezra kept exclaiming ‘this is delicious!’ between bites.
Ezra’s godmother and auntie both ordered the Dishoom Frankie – a spicy minced lamb in naan sandwich. I went for the Dhaba Chicken Curry with naan and I have to say this is one of the richest, most fragrant curries I’ve tasted in ages. It was more like broth, seriously I was lapping it up with a spoon.
‘That’s effing good,’ my cousin said, after sampling mine. I liked her Frankie too but I was definitely happier with my choice.
Dishoom cafe is fast-food, Bombay style. You pay at the bar and the dishes are served up in cartons and containers rather than bowls or plates. My curry was so deep that I had to order some extra naan, which they quickly brought round at no extra cost.
The boys had juice with their meals, while us ladies shared giggles over a pitcher of classic Bombay Pimms with Saffron gin, pomegranate and ginger beer.
All in all, we were extremely ‘happy in our bellies’ when we left Dishoom and this was not at all blighted by Ezra managing to get stuck in the toilet, and one of the managers having to break down the door to free him! After a brief panic, my boy emerged grinning.
A Bollywood ending.
Dishoom Chowpatty Beach is at Queen Elizabeth Hall terrace, Belvedere Rd, Southbank Centre SE1 from 12pm-late (Mon-Fri) and 10am-late (Sat-Sun) until Oct 4, 2011.
Dishoom is at 12 Upper St, St. Martin’s Lane, WC2. +44 207 420 9320
Check out Dishoom menu online