There are many impressive buildings in Manchester that have been reused over the years – but perhaps none are more mysterious than Manchester Hall.
The Grade II listed grandeur of Manchester Hall – once the secret meeting place of the former Brotherhood of Freemasons – provides an ideal setting for the Indian restaurant Dishoom.
Manchester Hall is located on Bridge Street at the edge of Spinningfields, an imposing art deco building immediately recognizable from the street.
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It was the most ambitious Freemasons Hall in the Northwest, divided into five suites, with a main room, an anteroom and a dining room. It also contained club rooms, meeting rooms, offices, a museum and a library.
Now a far cry from the past of secret handshakes and mysterious rituals, the building houses not only the Dishoom, but also the Mason’s Bar, the Vanitas and the Honest Burgers.
Dishoom tried to bring together the elements of the two colliding worlds, using the history of the building.
The bar’s yellow tiled floor is an exact replica of the floor of the Mumbai Masonic Lodge, and wood and glass partitions have been installed to protect and preserve original features such as the domed ceiling.
The great room at the back of the restaurant, was once the Freemason’s Derby Room and is now the Bro Cursetjee Dining Room, named after the first Indian Mason, with spectacular stained glass windows.
The decor includes trinkets from Indian markets, and sspecially commissioned replicas of portraits of the great masters of Indian masons.
“We know people might not be familiar with these details, but I think you feel the attention to the details,” Dishoom co-founder Shamil Thakrar said, previously speaking to Manchester Evening News.
“We go to the things we like as a way to evoke Bombay. You might not see him or recognize him as Indian, but overall I think it gives you a feeling of a time or place.
“History and heritage can be a little cheesy at times, but if you treat it in a way that’s not judgmental and take all of those detailed references in a playful way, I think it can really engage them. people.”
The all day menu offers a selection of small plates such as lamb samosas, okra fries and chili chicken, as well as larger dishes like biryanis, paneers, grilled produce, all accompanied by ‘a wide variety of accompaniments.
Weekend breakfast dishes put a twist on classic British fries, with naan rolls stuffed with a choice of toppings, as well as ‘The Big Bombay’ which promises a plate will be loaded with akuri. , charcoal-striped smoked bacon, sausage, masala beans, grilled field mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and homemade buttered buns.
Guests can choose from an extensive cocktail menu, including the Dishoom Espresso Martini, an Old Fashioned and the India Gimlet, inspired by the ancestral drink designed for sailors to escape scurvy.
There is also a wide range of wines, spirits and local beers, as well as a full menu of ‘Teetotal Tipples’ for designated drivers or those who don’t drink.
Since its opening in 2018, the restaurant has received much praise from Mancunians and visitors.
One reviewer said: “This was our first visit to Dishoom and we were hoping for something memorable to mark an important anniversary. I am happy to say that we were not disappointed.
“The food was simply amazing: generous, tasty and beautifully presented. The service was exceptional with a relaxed and warm atmosphere.
“Oh, and the Old Fashioned was a real gem! “
Another added: “It’s a beautiful restaurant in a beautiful building with a beautiful atmosphere.
“The food is to die for. I had a Gluten Free Big Bombay – eggs are the best eggs I’ve ever eaten – and my husband had a bacon naan and hasn’t been quiet since.
“We also had the chai which was perfectly spiced and enjoyed a treat and two of the breakfast cocktails which were so complex and refreshing.”
Dishoom is located at32 Bridge Street, M3 3BT. For more information and booking options, visit their website here.
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