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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

An Indian Bombay brunch in Dishoom, London

Looking for something a little bit different my brunch chums and I chose London’s Dishoom to try out its Bombay Breakfast Club.

With only two restaurants, one in Covent Garden and another in Shoreditch you can’t really call it a chain. That said, this ‘Bombay Café’ had a definite corporate chain feel about it. We headed to the Covent Garden branch which is squeezed next to a Jamie's Italian, a couple of doors down from the Mexican Cantina Laredo, with a Bill’s just around the corner.

I’d fancied trying Dishoom for a few years now, but annoyingly they don’t take bookings for dinner and the queue has always been around the block when I've tried to go. But they do allow you to book for brunch – I’m not sure I understand that logic, but let’s not complain.

The waiting area to take you to Bombay

This is definitely not your traditional Indian restaurant, but a smart London café you might find anywhere in the city, with a bar set in the corner and a view of the open kitchen. But the brass fixtures, chequered floor tiles and wooden panels gave it a colonial feel – which is what I presume it was going for. There was a giant clock and pictures on the wall and low lights hung from the high ceiling over marble-topped tables with mismatched chairs.

A busy Sunday morning in Dishoom - make sure you book

Bombay Breakfast Club

Drinks

I chose a Chocolate Chai (A charming couplet of dark chocolate and spicy chai. 2.70) while I waited for my friends and read the paperI was a little apprehensive of the hot drink because it was such a warm and humid day. But the chai spice was welcomed and it was less a wintery hot chocolate and more of an exotic treat.

I wish they did these to take away -
I'd be here every morning before work!

Tea for two at Dishoom

What gorgeous china

Once we had all arrived we had a couple of coffees and a pot of English Breakfast Assam Tea, while one friend ventured out and tried the Breakfast Lassi (A concoction of yoghurt, banana, mango and oats. Keep regular. 3.70). This was gorgeous, but almost a meal of its own – if I was trying this at home, coconut yoghurt would have taken this to another level of deliciousness.

They also had a short-but-sweet cocktail list on the menu, and the Dhoble did catch our eyes, but being a Sunday we decided against alcohol because some of us were still a little fragile from the night before.  

Dhoble: A refreshing breakfast cocktail, named for the notorious party-pooping Assistant Commissioner of the Police of Bombay, Vasant Dhoble. Fresh orange juice. Opihr spiced gin, araschino liqueur and a squeexe of lemon, served over cubed ice. 7.50

Maybe next time.

Food

Two of us ordered the Keema Per Eedu: A Parsi power breakfast: spicy chicken keema studded with delicate morsels of chicken liver, topped with two runny-yolked fried eggs and sali crisp-chips. Served with pau. 7.90

While the remaining two went for the Bombay Omlette with Fire Toast (6.90) and Dishoom’s signature Bacon Naan Roll (5.20).

Verdict

The food arrived quickly, and even though one friend arrived a little late because of train delays, the staff were happy to let us chat and catch up without rushing through our orders.

I’m glad I ordered the Keema Per Eedu as it was a very unusual breakfast and arrived on a wooden board in an earthenware dish. It had a slight spice which stayed pleasantly on your tongue, and a sweetness from the liver and the pau buns - which were similar to a brioche. But this dish was very rich, and I was glad I was eating it closer to midday than 8am, so my stomach had woken up and was ready for it.

Keema per Eedu with pau buns

Spiced chicken and livers with two fried eggs

I tried some of the Bombay Omeltte with tomatoes, coriander and green chilli, but after the spice from the Keema it was a little bland. But the side of Fire Toast was very unusual, I was expecting toast with maybe some chilli on the side, but when it turned up and was… well… burnt toast. It was actually 'charred' and this smokeyness really helped to create a depth to the omelette.

The Bombay Omlette

Dishoom's breakfast specialty - the bacon naan roll

The only thing I can say was the portions of butter and milk were a little stingy, with hardly enough to spread onto one pau bun, never mind two. We had to ask for more a couple of times, and in the end I felt like saying “Just bring me the cow”!

Reasonably priced, and something a little different from your average bacon and eggs or French toast, we really enjoyed ourselves. But it was a novelty, and probably won’t be a place I would go again and again for my Sunday brunch, but if I pass on an evening when there isn’t a queue, I’d definitely go back and try dinner.

Next up for our Monthly Brunch Club, it’s the Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell. I’m already drooling over the menu – review coming soon.


Dishoom
12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB
TEL: 020 7420 9320