There are few restaurants that could sustainably hold a queue of people for over an hour before sitting down at your table night after night, but with the increasing trend of ‘no booking restaurants’ and the popularity of a street food style of dining, it seems more and more can. Dishoom is just one such place. On Carnaby street, the only site I’ve visited, at any time of day, any day of the week (or so it feels) there is a queue of up to 60 people waiting for a coveted spot inside. A very pleasant experience, I hasten to add, with complimentary drinks brought to those outside and a bar inside for drinks and light snacks while you wait.
Dishoom calls itself a ‘Bombay café’ and aside from the food, the ambience and decoration in general has to be a reason that they keep the punters coming back for more. From their selection of different seating areas, including verandahs with low tables, Indian spins on the classic cocktails (the Chaijito my recommendation) and the bustling feel of an upmarket train carriage in the toilets, everything here is on point.
Going in a big group, ordering enough to fill your table and then some, is the way to go here. The waiting staff are, without exception, friendly, informative and keen to recommend their favourites. If you want a shopping list of what to try, here goes: Black Daal (creamy, lentil delights), Chicken Ruby (sumptuously warm curry), Calamari (crisped to perfection) and Okra fries (my fave). To be honest, you won’t go far wrong with much on this menu. It’s authentic with a twist, and for a price that won’t break the bank. Next on my list is to try their breakfast menu – brunch being the best meal of the day and with an Indian spin sounds like something I won’t regret trying.
If the queue is putting you off, don’t let it. The treats inside are well worth the wait.
Dishoom, London & Edinburgh.