Thursday, 8 January 2015

Dishoom: a review | The Small Desk

I’ve heard rumours of two and a half hour waits, the best Indian in London, together with a tale of a tumultuous tryst over vegan requests. It frequently gets four or five star ratings and is probably one of the trendiest places to eat in Covent Garden, but I had yet to visit it.

On a bitterly cold Tuesday evening I met up with my old school friends and we decided to risk trying to get a table in this elusive Bombay Café. They have adopted this new annoying trend of not allowing anyone to book a table in advance. We reluctantly got to the back of a line of about a dozen or so people and agreed how pleased we were at all having our bobble hats on. Not long after waiting we were offered a cup of something hot and milky. I’m not entirely sure what it was but it was a welcome gesture nonetheless. About five minutes later a lady with what looked like an electronic clipboard added us to the list and warned us that the waiting time was just under an hour. We looked at each other and decided it might be worth the wait, plus we had been promised a seat at the bar in 20 minutes time.

Once we managed to get through the glass doors we were welcomed inside by a very tall, well-groomed man; who so sincerely apologised for the wait that I immediately forgave him for my numb toes! We were given one of those buzzers that freaks out when your table is ready and were directed downstairs to the bar. What really surprised me was how many people welcomed us and guided us through the restaurant. There were waiters and waitresses at every corner and doorway; there was no way you would get lost here. We sat at the bar for what seemed like only a few seconds before our buzzer went crazy and a waitress appeared immediately to take us to our table. The wait time had only ended up being half an hour, which compared to the rumours of two and a half hours, was very impressive.

When we arrived at our table, guided all the way, we were only a matter of minutes into reading the menu before our waiter arrived. The whole thing felt like you were in some sort of scripted immersive theatre, everyone was so polite and was there at exactly the right moment. Our waiter had the best ponytail I have ever seen. It was so glossy and he flicked it, not arrogantly, but dramatically, every time he walked away from us. This was the most theatrical restaurant I had ever been to.

I had a Nimbu Pani to drink, which is a lemon drink with salt. I’m not sure what came over me thinking it was a good idea to order a drink that has salt in it. Normal people order a drink to help them soak up salt! I won’t be ordering it again. Food wise I had: gunpowder potatoes, okra fries, black house daal, garlic naan and dishoom slaw. It was all totally delicious, although having a plate of potatoes for a main course was a little stodgy.

The interior of the place is beautiful, the staff are practically perfect in every way but I’m not sure it is the food that has been attracting people to this ‘Café’. Don’t get me wrong, the food is good, but I’m not sure it would be worth a two and a half wait, or is the best Indian in town. I would take someone who you want to impress and who wants to be seen at the trendiest Indian in town.

Dishoom can be found in Shoreditch and King’s Cross as well as Covent Garden. I can’t remember the last time I did a food post, so please do comment and let me know if you would like more food posts.

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