For a foodie, Dishoom needs no introduction. To me, this brand has revolutionised how Londoners today experience Indian food and has made it trendy. It has also spawned dozens of lookalikes and similar concept Indian restaurants. This blog is not so much of a review but a homage to this institution and how it continues to expand, without losing its core offering of a gastronomic wonderland often paired with smashing cocktails.
I have been to Dishoom countless times. As an Indian who moved to London many years ago, I have continuously shunned the curry restaurants of Brick Lane as, contrary to popular belief, they do not remind me of home-cooked food. However, Dishoom’s Signature House Black Daal changed that all. Since then, other Indian restaurants have upped their game and are offering dishes that we, as Indians living abroad, crave and love.
My most recent visit was to their newly opened Kensington branch. All of Dishoom’s branches are modish and fashionably designed and this one is no different. Housed in the famous (former) Barker’s Store, the interiors are a nod to the Art Deco style of the building. Inside, it is spacious, well-lit and buzzy. The front section has the bar whilst all the dining action is towards the rear, overlooked by a giant clock.
We visited on a Tuesday afternoon at lunch time, expecting to get straight in. But there was a queue already forming ahead of us. Luckily, we could wait at the bar rather than outside in the freezing cold, so we took the opportunity to peruse the cocktail menu and admire the interior design.
Once seated, it didn’t take us long to decide what we wanted, as I am quite familiar with their menu by now.
From the small plates section, we ordered the Chilli Cheese Toast (£3.5) – Cheddar melt on white bloomer chillies. It was comforting, gooey and gently spiced, perfect to share as a light bite.
We focussed mainly on the Grills section, as I tend to steer clear of food slathered in sauce. My all-time favourite is their Sheekh Kabab (£8.2) – minced lamb marinated with lime, coriander and cumin, then grilled. The hearty kababs were served unthreaded, flame-blistered and herb-flecked.
My brother, who was my lunch date for that day, ordered the Lamb Boti Kabab (£9.5) – pieces of tender lamb marinated with red chilli, garlic and ginger. There was a lot more depth of flavour to this dish, but I found the chunks of meat slightly tough and chewy compared to my Sheekh.
Instead of ordering rice on its own, we opted for Dishoom’s Awadhi Lamb (10.5) which was delectable. Soft and fluffy rice, humming with spice and bedecked with succulent morsels of meat is one of my favourite dishes to order in an Indian restaurant and Dishoom’s version lived up to expectations.
You don’t visit Paris and not see Eiffel Tower. Likewise you don’t visit Dishoom and not order the House Black Daal (£5.9). It was exactly how I like it – rich, creamy, dense and smoky. Served piping hot, I could have lashings of these wholesome lentils spooned over my biryani anytime in the day as my ultimate comfort food!
For dessert, we shared a Dishoom Chocolate Pudding (£6.9) with a scoop of Kashmiri Chilli Ice cream. The chocolate pud itself was smooth, almost torte-like but had the texture of a light mousse. The ice cream was a revelation: you don’t notice it first but after the cold, creamy sensation in your mouth, you get a unique spicy aftertaste that lingers for a bit.
Dishoom continues to deliver top notch Indian nosh to Londoners. I will be forever grateful to them for making curry cool for Londoners!
Location : 4 Derry St, Kensington, London W8 5SE
More information can be found here.
N.B. All photos and opinions are mine. I review anonymously and pay for my meals.