Dishoom Covent Garden
12 Upper Saint Martin’s Lane
The Victim: Julie
The Damage: £20 each for food, but our alcohol was comped.
The Background: First, the disclaimer. My co-worker Banita is married to one of the owners of Dishoom (Amar). This means that I probably got a bit of preferential treatment on my visit to Dishoom the other night. So for example, although Dishoom doesn’t take reservations, I had one. However, had I arrived at 7 p.m. on that Tuesday without a booking, I would have gotten a table anyhow as there was plenty of availability. Also, our drinks–a Bolly Bellini for me (Cardamom in a Bellini! Why hasn’t the world thought of this sooner?) and a St. Martini for Julie (pomegranate and chili, in a gin martini), followed by Bombaladas for both of us (pineapple, coconut milk, rum, herbs)–were comped. And Amar spent a lot of time at our table, explaining the dishes and talking to us about the restaurant.
OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…
You should try the Bollybellini. It’s lovely. Rose, lychee, raspberry and prosecco.
And I’d also recommend the calamari. I think this was my favorite dish of the night. Good crispy, fresh breading, with a bit of heat. Nicely textured calamari.
Dishoom’s Lamb Chops
There have been conflicting reports about the lamb chops, but I loved these. Great char, and spicy to boot. Some have said that they were too dry, but ours were perfectly moist, with that nice crunchy barbecued outside. Prettily presented, sprinkled with pomegranates.
Other Dishes at Dishoom Covent Garden
Less interesting for me was a pau bhaji (mashed veg with hot buttered bread) and a cheesy nan. Also, the more I’ve thought about the biryani, it was just, well, biryani. It was good–don’t get me wrong–but it wasn’t a stand-out, memorable dish. It was “just” a very competent biryani.
For dessert, we had gola ice of pomegranate (are you sensing a theme here) and chili. You might have noticed that I’m not the biggest sweets person (unless we’re talking about macarons or lemon tarts), so this was just a personal preference thing for me. Not my thing. But it was interesting, for sure.
One of my favorite items of the evening was the chai…a spicy tea that I could have guzzled a dozen cups of. I can see why Dishoom might be pulling in a good breakfast crowd. With free wifi and a couple of cups of this, I could be very happy, working away at Dishoom.
There’s one thing I want to mention before I get to my final verdict. The prices. They are awesomely low, especially considering this place is on Upper St. Martin’s Lane and the kit-out could not have been cheap. At this writing, the calamari was only £4.50. The chicken biryani £7.50. The lamb chops came in tops at £9.20, but I’d say they were worth it. Can they keep up these prices? I don’t know. But if they keep up the quality of the food, they have a winner on their hands.
Ah, and Banita wanted me to mention in particular…all those pictures on the wall? They aren’t just random stock photos. All of the photos are connected to the owners in some way. (Including the photo of Amar’s dad’s ex-girlfriend in the booth we were in!)
The Verdict: Fun. Tasty. Go. Enjoy. And have a bollybellini for me.