I love Indian food but I have to admit the closest I normally get to an Indian breakfast is a warm cup of spicy chai. On the weekend I decided to give my antipodean trained tastebuds a break and try Dishoom.
Dishoom in Covent Garden is styled like an old Irani cafe in Bombay with a modern twist. Opened by Persian immigrants, these cafes were at their peak in the 1960s – now only fewer than thirty remain. Recapturing their faded elegance, Dishoom cleverly draws upon the heritage and tradition of these cafes with its black and white tiled floor, Bentwood chairs, stained mirrors and vintage framed portraits.
The venue is no doubt a crowd puller. It has a vibrant atmosphere complemented by its buzzing open plan kitchen and efficient service. The tables on the top floor were slightly crammed for my liking, compared to the luxurious leather booths on the basement floor which were sadly closed for breakfast.
The menu pays homage to the food of Bombay, bringing an interesting mix of wholesome dishes including house porridge and granola to bacon and naan rolls. How traditional the food is could be questioned, however Dishoom seem to make the fusion twist work.
The house masala chai was beautifully aromatic and spicy, a perfect comfort drink for a cold winters day. With just the right amount of cardamom and touch of sweetness, it really puts the imitation chai teas at other London cafes to shame.
I don’t know what it is about this dish that makes it so delicious and surprisingly addictive. The Bun Maska (£2.70) is the Irani cafe classic, eaten everywhere in Bombay. Ridiculously simple, it is basically a bun toasted hot on the outside, with an indulgent slice of cold butter on the inside, to be dipped into your spicy chai. As a massive tea and biscuit dunker, this was definitely up my street.
The Bombay style house porridge (£3.50) was also delicious, a unique blend of whole grain oats cooked with milk, banana and dates. It was topped with fresh blueberries which accompanied by the dates added a touch of sweetness to the dish.
The fruit salad, served with real Kerala-vanilla yoghurt (£4.9) was a simple combination of fresh fruits including raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and honeydew melon. The yoghurt, infused with Keralan vanilla pods and topped with a generous dollop of honey was the real hit with this dish.
Dishoom definitely pays great respect to the dying breed of Old Iranian cafes in Bombay. If you are looking for something a bit different to your average London brunch I would highly recommend it. I will definitely be back, if only to satisfy my strange new-found craving for buns with butter and masala chai. Often the simple things in life are the best.
Surprisingly affordable. Two Bun Maskas plus two items on the breakfast menu with two beverages approximately £20.
Opening Hours: Bombay breakfast is served from 8am to 11am on weekdays, and from 10am to 1pm on weekends. Bookings advised.