Eating and drinking my way through life and learning all the while

Dishoom – London's first Bombay cafe – review

I have Ms Marmite Lover to thank for introducing me to Dishoom, London’s first Bombay cafe – near Leicester Square, Central London.
Dishoom, with its all-day Bombay inspired menu, is said to draw upon the heritage and tradition of Bombay cafes, which have dwindled in numbers in recent years.
I’m not knowledgeable enough about the history of Bombay to say whether Dishoom pays a good homage to these much-loved institutions but to me Dishoom is a chic Bombay-inspired central London cafe and quite unlike most Indian eateries I’ve enjoyed in London.

I love the succinct cafe-style menu covering breakfast, snacks and larger meals. It easily fits onto one side of A4, so you can order quickly but there’s still enough choice to keep everyone happy.
Also, this is one of the few Indian eateries I’d feel comfortable going for a good chai and read to a paper just as much as a long lunch or an informal dinner. I don’t feel obliged to order a full-on meal, although a couple of snacks to share does often turn into something more, as I give into temptation.
The decor is delightful, the retro pictures and posters of Bombay that adorn the walls really help to set the scene and although I don’t usually mention the bathrooms in a restaurant review, these are really worth a second look. Each cubicle has glass cabinet containing old examples of Indian toiletries and cosmetics, essentially transforming them into colourful little relics.

But most importantly the food…

I’ve been here a couple of times now and have generally been very impressed. I am a big fan of the Paneer, which is made on the premises, and is wonderfully fresh with a great texture. The sauce has a fantastic tang that always has be coming back for just one more spoonful…
Another favourite is the Grilled Masala Prawns, the Dill Salmon Tikka is good but perhaps let down by an uninspiring bed of salad.

The drinks are great, big fan of the home-made Chai, the imported Thums Up (the best selling cola in India) and the Bhang Lassi.
Lassis are traditional yogurt-based drinks which are usually savoury and mixed with Indian spices. I ordered the Bhang Lassi, unaware that in India this is usually contains a liquid form of cannabis, although I’m assuming that wasn’t what the descriptor ‘bombay spice’ was alluding to on the menu, since we are in London after all.

Although arguably, there are other places you’d go for the best ruby murray in town, Dishoom is a great, stylish Bombay cafe in central London which offers good value Indian food and drink in chic surroundings. I love the all day menu and attention to detail which has clearly gone into creating Dishoom, London’s first Bombay cafe, and will no doubt be back soon.
To visit, click here.

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