A familiar, comforting smell draws you in and awakens your senses. The grey of the weather instantly seems to brighten, the stress of all your projects begins to fade, and that void in your heart/stomach (whichever matters more) starts to heal. Dishoom is the place you’ve been looking for: authentic (and I mean AUTHENTIC)vghar ka khanna in the heart of Central London.
Walking down London’s St. Martin’s Lane, a familiar, comforting smell draws you in; awakens your senses. Dishoom has recently been crowned the No.1 restaurant in the UK by Yelp reviewers, beating other fancy Michelin-Star restaurants.
You are welcomed by old Bollywood songs of the Binaca Geetmala radio show vintage. Dishoom instantly makes you feel at home. A strange child-like excitement overcomes you when we see the good old Devanagri script subtly scrawled across the interiors. Modeled on old Iranian Cafés in Bombay, the restaurant is forever buzzing with people, often waiting a long time just to be able to enjoy some good Indian food.
Being away both from home and good food, all of us raced for our favourites: Pav Bhaji, Bhel Puri, Kurkuri Bhindi, Murgh Malai Tikka and Dishoom Covent Garden’s speciality (and my personal favourite), Haleem. Silence engulfed the table as soon as the food arrived.
There’s no time to look up as we dig into the food and share an intimate moment with the flavours we missed the most. The taste buds felt the tingle that they had almost forgotten. The months-long thirst for Thums Up was quenched and each sip brought us closer home. We all exchanged smiles and continued to dig in.
Being a proud gastronomical desi, I must admit that these dishes may not be the best I have tried. But miles away from home, even this slightly manicured Pav Bhaji is an oasis in a vast desert of bland, tasteless London food.
Will I frequent Dishoom? I’m not sure. It’s a little too steep for my perfectly shoe-stringy student budget. But if you’re in London on holiday and miss the spice, Dishoom is a good place to go.
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