One month and a few days ago Dan and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary together at Dishoom in Covent Garden! How it's been 6 years I don't know (not in the I don't know how we're still together way...I do know how and Dan is excellent!), it doesn't feel like it was that long ago since we were giddy teenagers and I was meeting his parents for the first time. Who, coincidently, we went to visit last weekend and are pushing for us to get married in 2016 the idea of us being anywhere near this stage is crazy (houses before marriages). However, 6 years on I'm still head over heels for him (forgive the sap) and to celebrate this cartwheel turning romance we decided to go to Dishoom for our anniversary.
In danger of being seriously overemotional and revolting a few of you let's move on to Dishoom because Dishoom is excellent. However, I cannot guarantee that Dishoom's excellence won't make you emote if you visit them.
Dishoom self-describes themselves as a take on the cafes of old Bombay in India. Despite it not being a small restaurant with its large open plan ground floor and high ceilings, the black wood panelling, exposed duck egg brick walls, dark wood floors and the busy hurry of customers in and out give you the impression of it being a bustling cafe smaller than what it is. And having never visited India myself, I think the decor captures the exotic atmosphere I would expect with chandeliers of hanging lights and gold guilded picture frames containing 70s Indian family portraits, which transport you into that family's dining room.
I have been lusting after the menu at Dishoom for over a year and am glad that we finally managed to get to try it out. Serving street style Indian food, their menu of small plates and larger sharing dishes really caters to the way Dan and I eat out (Tapas style!). Alot of restaurants are opting for small plates on their menus and I personally love them because it means I get to try double the amount of dishes I would if we ordered separate meals (we RARELY order separate meals).
There are so many great dishes on offer at Dishoom and we struggled to order a select few. However, we managed to make our choices in the end and the dishes that made the cut included fragrant Dishoom Calamari, Spicy Lamb Chops (not pictured), Chicken Berry Britannia Biryani and Gunpowder Potatoes, with raita and garlic naan on the side.
The Dishoom Calamari was surprisingly refreshing from the lime juice and fresh herbs despite it's crispy cornmeal-like crumb coating. If not one of the best calamari I've ever had (with squid cooked to perfection!) then it was certainly the most original.
Of the four dishes we ordered I couldn't pick a favourite. But if there is one dish that I recommend you try at Dishoom, and indeed it is the dish I'll definitely be getting again next time, try the Gunpowder Potatoes. For meat lovers and vegetarians alike these potatoes were very spicy from the green chilli, sharp from the lime, and smoky from the charred potato skins and various toasted whole spices. It was absolutely delicious but I was very grateful that we ordered a soup bowl of raita (just visible on the right in the photo above) to go alongside it. Definitely not a dish for the faint hearted.
The Spicy Lamb Chops are not to be missed by lamb lovers, black and charred from the tandoori oven and succulent on the inside from the marinade their gorgeous alone but accompanied with fresh lime juice and pomegranate seeds it's a tastebud extravaganza. These came later on in the meal and unfortunately we'd already eaten them before I realised I'd forgotten to grab a photo, but really that's just a testament to how good they were.
Don't be fooled by the pretty appearance of this biryani, lurking just underneath the top layer of rice are huge steaming chunks of moist chicken. With the chicken, earthy rice and sweet cranberries it's a great dish. As a Chicken Berry Britannia I was expecting more berries in the biryani as opposed to on top as a garnish because the rice and chicken alone, though cooked well, did need the sharp sweet lift of the berries.
All the food was great and we dined with a crisp citrusy bottle of white wine recommended to us by the waiter which really cut through the spices. However, the garlic naan bread was really disappointing, greasy and tough it did not make for pleasant eating.
For dessert we shared a Kala Khatta Gola Ice and a pot of green tea. The Kala Khatta Gola Ice was an Indian version of a granita with large ice flakes and a rich syrup made from kokum fruit,
blueberries, chilli and lime, sprinkled with salt. Dishoom's description really hits it on the head the first mouthful is weird and you're not sure whether you like what you're eating but the second makes it sweet, salty and delicious all in one. The only other thing I'd add is that by the fifth spoonful it's sickeningly sweet as the syrup collects at the bottom of the glass.
Overall the food and service at Dishoom surpassed my expectations. We were not the easiest customers that day but they accommodated us really well (moving us upstairs from the den downstairs, filling water bottles and answering all our questions) and we spent the good part of an afternoon there.
Now to plan our next anniversary meal...