“I went for the first time to the most famous Indian restaurant in London and left totally disappointed” – Jessica Battison


I first moved to London over four years ago now and can say with confidence that I had a good bite to eat my way around the city.

Sometimes it can be difficult to keep track; everyone seems to recommend a different place and new places are constantly appearing.

There is one joint in particular that Londoners always talk about and that I just never made the effort to visit – until now.

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Dishoom is an Indian restaurant with multiple locations around the city, paying homage to Iranian cafes and Mumbai food.

It was starting to occur to me: is Dishoom worth the hype? Is it really amazing to be talked about so much?

With these vital questions interrupting my daily life, I did the natural thing and took to Twitter.

Ashamed of not making the pilgrimage to this revered restaurant, the resounding response from foodies across town is that I was missing a lot. Dishoom himself pitched his fans at me, insisting that I visit as soon as possible.

The responses said things like “This isn’t just living up to the hype, it’s going beyond expectations” and “Come on, come on, come on – warning you’ll get hooked.” “

Of course, with an answer like that, I had no choice but to reserve a table. Incognito style.

The Cozy Veranda in Shoreditch

I chose to visit the Shoreditch branch and sit on their veranda. This sheltered outdoor space was welcoming, comfortable and warm.

Wooden chairs and tables under warm lights with light festive decorations created a family atmosphere; this famous restaurant felt reassuring and low-key, despite its dedicated fan base.

Basking in the heaters and forgetting that we were sitting in a makeshift veranda, I started my experience with a heated mug from their legendary House Chai (£ 3.20)

Dishoom’s Bottomless Cellar is something that has been recommended to me on several occasions. One of the responses from Twitter said that it was “delicious” and that the idea of ​​bottomless goodness appealed to me, a human being.

A hot glass of hot chai

But it was too good to be true. It was tasty and rich but lacked that real spice buzz – a sweeter chai.

With my attentive waitress who came by regularly to see if I wanted a refill, I tried the Chocolate Chai. Another Twitter user said: “If anything, go for the chocolate chai it warms my stomach and makes me happy.”

I can totally agree. The mixture of dark chocolate and sweet chai was magical; it tasted like Christmas and sweetness and looked like a warm hug.

To start our meal we started with the Okra fries (£ 4.90) and the Pau Bhaji (£ 5.90) ​​recommended from the menu.

Okra and Pau Bhaji fries

The lady’s fingers came into a dry and spicy batter, with an incredibly satisfying crunch that cracked and cracked in my mouth.

The incredible Pau Bhaji stole the show from the starters. A thick and tangy mash of vegetables, the rich and subtly spicy dish was delicious as an accompaniment to the hot, buttered homemade buns.

Again, another hearty and heartwarming authentic bowl that looked like something your mom might make to you after a bad day.

When the rest of our meal appeared it was very clear our waitress was right when she said we had ordered enough. It was certainly a gap for two confident people.

Spicy lamb chops

The spicy lamb chops (£ 8.90) arrived charred from the grill with a garnish of sparkling pomegranate. The tender meat had more of a Moroccan flavor than a distinctly Indian flavor, lacking a bit of spice.

Selecting the Gunpowder Potatoes (£ 6.90), I expected a fiery spice explosion. But it was completely missing. Instead, the smoked new potatoes tasted tangy with lime and butter in some low impact herbs.

I had no choice but to order the House Black Daal (£ 7.50) as it is a real star of the menu. A reasonably priced signature dish, the restaurant cooks daal for 24 hours for a richer impact.

Dishoom’s offering had a creamier texture instead of the classic thick lentil sublease and I found it deliciously more greedy.

The daal was my favorite

A dreamy spice blend creating a flavor you can’t quite put your finger on, it was nourishing and rich and politely spicy. I couldn’t stop eating more – it was delicious.

The Roomali Roti (£ 3.50) acted as the perfect container to shovel endless amounts of dahl all over my excited taste buds.

My friend, who is of South Asian origin, explained to me that the bread had not been baked properly. He pointed out the lines on the roti that meant this and we agreed that it lacked the butter it is typically cooked with in other parts of India.

Dishoom’s roti lacked a buttery taste, freshness, or moisture – it just was. But it still worked like a shovel for this magnificent daal.

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Unfortunately, my meal at Dishoom fits that dreaded description; it was just “nice”.

I’m not sure it was worth the wait four years or get so excited. It lacked that spiciness for me. I think the restaurant has really decent food at a reasonable price and although I am obsessed with this daal I wouldn’t say Dishoom blew my mind.

To be fair, I’m much more excited about the recent opening of Mowgli in London (one of my favorite restaurants at home in Liverpool), which I believe serves even tastier Indian food.

Am I now addicted to Dishoom? No. Did I miss something? No. But did I enjoy the food? Yes.

It was a great meal and I enjoyed the experience so maybe I’m missing something if I don’t think this is the best meal I’ve ever had. However, I’m sure there are plenty of other Indian restaurants all around London that deserve the same level of hype as Dishoom – if not more.

You can find Dishoom Shoreditch at 7 Boundary Street, E2 7JE. There are also other branches in Carnaby, Covent Garden, Kensington and King’s Cross.

Do you have a favorite London hidden gem restaurant, pub or bar that you think we should know about? If so, please email [email protected]

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