London
27 Nov, Saturday
4°C

Here I am sitting at my home desk trying to work productively and failing miserably when my other half bounds into the room full of energy and enthusiasm, I feel exhausted just looking at him, let’s get out of the house he says. Not a bad idea I think I could do with some fresh air. Let’s go to Covent Garden we always love wandering around there. Good idea, we could go shopping I would love to treat myself to some new Summer looks but on hearing the word ‘shopping’ he makes that agonised face that only a man can make…

I take pity on him – let’s go to Covent Garden to the new look Dishoom, we always love going there and after we have gorged on their hot and spicy treats we will have plenty of time to shop till we drop.

Table booked we arrive at Dishoom in plenty of time for lunch, entry is suitably socially distanced and hand sanitiser very much in evidence. As we approach our table we can see that the restaurant, kitchen and bar have more than doubled in size but it has lost none of it genuine old world charm of the Irani cafes of Bombay.

Our lovely server Gina greets us with her 100 kilowatt smile introduces herself as Server1.4… (don’t ask) and is very helpful, friendly and full of great suggestions. The menu beckons…

But first things first, I choose a glass of fizz to brighten up my day, a flute of Bollybelini infused with raspberries, lychees, rose and cardamon, it slips down a treat and puts a smile on my face. My other half is being holier than thou and drinking water. Each to his own…

The menu is extensive, filled with tempting treats but what’s hot and what’s not, and what are the absolute ‘must haves’? Gina takes charge and is in her element as she expertly guides us through the choices. We confess we are both wimps when it comes to the hottest of spices, and hang our heads in shame, but Gina smiles sweetly, and we know we are in safe hands.

We begin our Bombay journey with a selection of Small Plates, and very soon our table is groaning under the weight of these tempting treats. It was a sight to behold; our bellies were rumbling, but where to start?

First we tried the Khichia & Chundo, this crispy dish was complemented by a sultry and suitably spicy apple chutney from an old family recipe. We speedily gobbled it up, and not a crumb was left. Lovingly we sampled the House Black Dahl a perfect complement to any dish and super Crisp Okra Fries alongside a Bowl of Greens which consisted of grilled Broccoli and Snow Peas with a hint of chilli and lime, this definitely constituted more than one of our five-a -day. Our mothers would be proud of us!

The Chilli Chicken was now firmly in our sights and it looked very tempting, this dish has it roots in both Irani and Chinese culture and the blend of garlic, ginger, soy and chilli made it an absolute winner in our books.

Moving on, we really loved the Chole Puri – it was a revelation – the delicious puffed puris, spiced chickpea curry and sweet halwa were a perfect combination of contrasting flavours and texture and slipped down a treat.

The next dish we tried was the Spicy Lamb Chops, in fact my other half was insistent they were non-negotiable, and I can tell you he was not disappointed. I am not sure I have ever seen two lamp chops disappear quite so quickly.

At the risk of being called greedy we continued with our exploration of the menu trying the Chicken Berry Britannia and rice. This tempting dish was exquisitely flavoured with ginger, garlic, mint and coriander (a particular favourite of mine) and I loved this dish.

By now night had replaced day and we couldn’t have eaten another morsel; to sum up this meal was an absolute joy and a revelation of the tastes of the old Irani cafes of Bombay.

It goes without saying there are, of course, a great selection of wines, beers, lassis and chais (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) to choose from. I enjoyed a Dishoom India Pale Ale with our meal and finished off with a Naughty Chocolate Chai. Mmm…

Prices for small plates start from just £2.90, grills from £6.90, Biryani or Ruby Murray from £11.50

Covent Garden Dishoom, 12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2H 9FB

https://www.dishoom.com/

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