Right, so first things first, I need to put it out there that Dishoom is another one of those restaurants where you cannot book.
This is a major disadvantage but don’t worry I won’t go on another rant. It is suffice to say that the queue is long, but I can honestly say the food more than made up for the 1 hr and 45 mins we waited in the cold for. And that is saying something! Especially as it was cold. And raining. Luckily we had lots to catch up on, so chatted away and they brought us Naughty Chocolate Chai’s to warm us up and whet our appetites for the feast ahead. (Disclaimer: they actually call them Naughty, that wasn’t the written equivalent of a cheeky wink by me). After an excruciatingly long wait we made it into the bar. Looking at us you would have thought we had just crossed the finishing line of a marathon. Only we weren’t sweaty, exhausted and unable to breathe. That was just a way of trying to say we were happy with big grins on our faces and really quite smug. The restaurant smells amazing and it has a friendly sort of hustle and bustle, you can see the chefs cooking and the flames and sizzles only act to further excite your tastebuds.
We promptly ordered two lassis’, Fleur going for the Salted Lassi which is a creamy yoghurt which is salted and gently spiced with crushed cumin. Whilst I plumped for the Mango and fennel Lassis which was thick, creamy and delicious – just try not to choke on the whole fennel seeds which are perched on the top. Not that I did that…cough cough.
When we were eventually ushered to our table we got completely over excited and very nearly ordered everything on the menu. Taking the waiters advice we ordered 7 dishes, which we both agreed by the end was excessive and 5 between two would have been ample. If you were particularly hungry you could always order another as the dishes appear within minutes of ordering. After placing our orders we then saw something which saw our smugness from earlier disappear in a puff of chai scented smoke. The queue had completely disappeared. Disappeared entirely. We tried to forget just how long we had queued and vowed to remember that another time we could idly wander in at 9pm and we would undoubtedly be ushered to a table immediately.
Anyway, the food then arrived and all thoughts of the queue were forgotten. Everything arrives in tapas style portions – which you know by now is my favourite way of eating. No food envy is possible as you get to share everything, which is great!
First up was the Pau Bhaji which is a bowl of mashed vegetables with a hot buttered bun on the side. The bun is sweet and almost brioche like and was insanely good even on it’s own, but loaded up with scoops of the mashed vegetables it was unbelievably delicious.
Next up was the Calamari which was tiny tender squid drizzled with a little hint of honey. Seriously good!
The Lamb Boti Kabab was tender lamb marinated in chilli, garlic and ginger. I was unlucky and my first piece was pretty hard to chew, but I persevered (I know, I know, well done me) and had another piece and it melted in my mouth, so so good!
Then the Mahi Tikka which is an Asian fish called basa which has been marinated in a subtle yoghurty marinade. Fleur wasn’t so sure about this, but I loved it and ate the whole lot!
Then the house black dahl which was incredible. Packed full of flavour and so good when mopped up with the Roomali Roti, the handkerchief-like bread we ordered. Unwrapping each Roti, they were more like a full sized blanket than a handkerchief, not that I was complaining – they were seriously soft and I could eat them every day! The chicken ruby was what you might think of as a good and proper curry in the traditional sense. Really rich and silky and also amazing mopped up with the handkerchief. I mean Roti.
Phew. I can’t quite believe we ate all of that just the two of us, but we did and to be honest as I am writing this, I wish I was about to eat it all over again. It really was ridiculously delicious.
Never one to pass up pudding, we quickly ordered before our tummies could realise they couldn’t possibly fit another thing in them.
We ordered a Mango Kulfi on a stick which is a sweet creamy treat on a stick. A bit like a fruity mini milk and it was yummy! I’m pretty sure it was the Mango Lassis I had at the start, just frozen and stuck on a stick – not that I’m complaining, it was great! Also doesn’t hurt that it looks like a little light sabre – so it’s pretty fun too…
We then ordered the Kala Khatta Gola Ice and to be honest I really really wish we hadn’t. It’s described as fluffy ice flakes steeped in kokum fruit syrup, blueberries, chilli, lime, white and black salt. They say that the first spoonful tastes bizarre but that the second spoonful is captivating. Hmmm. I think bizarre is a kind word to use. The first spoonful is nothing short of revolting (sorry, but it’s true) and it takes all the strength you can muster to take the second spoonful. Was the second spoonful captivating? About as captivating as a lump of coal at a disco of diamonds. It tasted a bit like an oyster had had a pretty aggressive fight with a slush puppy. And the fight had been witnessed by chilli pepper onlookers who got a bit overenthusiastic throwing chunks of salt onto the competitors. It would be pretty safe to say I didn’t enjoy the pudding, but I absolutely loved everything else about the meal.
Just be sure to rock up at 9 to avoid the dastardly queues and whatever you do, don’t order the Kala Khatta Gola Ice.