January 26, 2015

London: Dishoom

It's never too late to talk about London, is it? I enjoyed a girls' trip last fall with my good friend LaShauna, a two-woman 'hen do' of sorts (aka mini-bachelorette party). Just the two of us traipsing around one of our favorite cities.

We met up one night with a former news colleague of mine who has lived there for almost a decade (and is on her way to becoming a British citizen)! She suggested meeting on the edge of Covent Garden at Dishoom, a mostly no-reservations restaurant that is one of the last remaining Bombay cafes in London. (They do take them for parties of 6 or more)

That no reservations thing is no joke. However, we didn't wait that long, maybe 40 minutes, and they brought out mini drinks and snacks to keep us from getting too hangry in line.
My drink was a lovely hot mint tea. Just sweet enough, and full of fresh mint.
They took us downstairs to a table in the middle of bustling room, and we started with cocktails. Mine was the Bombay Colada: a pina colada jazzed up with coriander (those seeds on top), chai syrup, lime juice, and rum. WOW. This was one of the best cocktails I've had the pleasure of sipping. The coriander made this drink sing from the tip of my tongue to the soles of my happy feet.

LaShauna ordered the Chaijito, a chai-infused take on the mojito. I tried a sip-- it is a refreshing spin on one of my favorite cocktails, but once LaShauna tasted MY drink, she made that her second cocktail (and so did I-- I had TWO Bombay coladas!)
We decided to share a bunch of dishes, including their sauteed green veggies, their red curry, black daal (lentils) and some naan bread.
Samosas to start-- flaky crust, surreally-spiced filling, YES YES YES.
That Black House daal (pictured above)-- holy shut your mouth richness. The menu says it's a signature dish, and I can understand why. Simmered for more than 24 hours, it is incredibly lush, aromatic, flavored in the most luscious of layers. I could have had just this dish and called it one of the best things I ever ate.
The chicken ruby was a gorgeous curry in what they call a 'makhani' sauce. Tender, juicy chicken pieces floating blissfully in that sacrilicious sauce. We had some naan, thankfully, to scrape up every last drop of this dish.
We ordered the succinctly-titled 'Bowl of Greens,' described as "grilled broccoli, snow peas and spinach tumbled with chilli and lime." This dish could easily have been a throwaway, but it was so incredibly flavorful that we nearly ordered another. Splitting this among three people left us all wanting more, but we were saving room for dessert.

And I doubled DOWN on dessert. I didn't just get the pineapple & black pepper crumble (which was good, but not great, a little dry).
I also ordered a dessert coffee, a Monsooned Cobbler. It is described as Malabar espresso, 'bamboozled' with spices, cognac, and cream. They served with with cream and EXTRA sugar on the side-- it does NOT need any more sweetness, but yeah, I splashed a bit more cream in there. It was super cold and super sweet. Normally I don't care for sweet coffee, but this was excellent. When I go back, I'm having just THIS for dessert!
12 Upper St Martin's Lane
London WC2H 9FB, United Kingdom
+44 20 7420 9320

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