An eccentric old Bombay Café, recently arrived, East London August 16th, 2012

Dishoom Shoreditch, 7, Boundary Street, London E2 7JE. (Opened October 2012.)

One day, an old Irani Café (born circa 1930, Bombay), creaking slightly at the seams, made the long trip from Bombay in 1970 to London in 2012. Tired from the long journey, it shuffled into an empty space in Shoreditch and made itself comfortable. This old Café had for some time been maintaining correspondence with its slightly more showy cousin who had made a similar trip and had found a home in Covent Garden.

However, while the cousin in Covent Garden had worked hard to polish, primp and style itself, this Café was less concerned. It knew instinctively that the layers of imperfection and eccentricity built up over the many years of serving customers in Bombay weren’t merely clutter to be cleaned up and scratches to be polished out, but were in fact its very memory and character. It decided to leave its disheveled corners right where they were, as little reminders of home.

Gradually, as it grew to know and love its new community, it realised that it felt very much at home in it. The customers enjoyed hearing its stories of old Bombay, many of which were even true. They liked the faded pictures of the relatives on the walls. They smiled as they gradually grew to know the quirks of this old Café – which seemed constantly to be hankering after a lost mid-century Bombay. They seemed to care little that the shininess of the Covent Garden cousin was absent.

And most of all the Café loved serving food and drink with so much enthusiasm. The food which came quickly out of the open kitchen. The Lamb Raan which had been cooked overnight and seemed completely at home in a burger. The warm baked biscuits and Keema puffs, just like those still being served at Sassannian Café in Bombay. The endless cups of chai, the best thing to revive energy levels on a wilted Tuesday afternoon. The bar, which served the most delicious and sincere old cocktails – Flips, Gimlets, Juleps and Sours, felt even a bit pre-‘47.

A new home

Brunch on Sunday would be deliciously lazy, laced warmly with the aroma of the bakery. Lunch with colleagues on a Wednesday, busy and brisk, waiters bustling on to the verandah with trays of abundant food. Afternoon chai would provide a calm refuge from the East London street. Meanwhile, dinner and drinks on a Friday or Saturday night would see the place at its liveliest, buzzing with Londoners coming to a good old knees-up hosted by the eccentric old Café.

Throughout, the Café smiled inwardly to itself. It was never happier than when it was being true to itself and serving its guests – sharing its love for Bombay, serving its food, telling its stories. And before too long, the Café began to feel as if it had always been there wedged comfortably into Boundary Street, accumulating its own East London layers.

‘Like’ our Facebook page and follow us on twitter to follow progress and hear about opening details.

If you live close by, drop us a line on hello@dishoom.com so we can invite you to events. 

Comments

  1. Wow! Well done guys. Really proud of you and your expanding empire :-)

  2. Priyanka says:

    Wohooo!! Now my favorite vada-pav and thump up are walking distance away. Congratulations guys!!

  3. Harv says:

    Can’t wait! Been obsessed with Dishoom for a long while before moving to London from Canada. :)

  4. Adam says:

    Great news guys – really excited to come and visit!!

    (cant comment without promoting but I genuinely think Loyalli would be a cool tool for your business – rewarding customer loyalty! …check out http://www.loyalli.com)

  5. Sanjay says:

    How do you guys dream this stuff up? Fantastic. Can’t wait to come and see it :-)

  6. Maunika says:

    Now even more reasons to visit London! Congratulations guys. Very much looking forward to sampling pav bhaji, vada pav and the awesome delights of Mumbai you bring to London. Here’s wishing a branch in Newcastle isnt far off eh!:)

  7. Dishoom says:

    Thank you all for the kind comments – we’re really excited, and very touched by your kind words. Do drop us an email on hello@dishoom.com for invites to fun stuff…

    Sanjay – how do we dream it up? Two words my friend. Bhang. Lassi.

    Kidding… mostly ;-)

  8. Girish says:

    Lovely piece, knew about the Shoreditch opening already but enjoyed reading this nevertheless, charmingly written! An ode to the Dishoom personality.

  9. Ricky says:

    I can’t wait for this mega overdose of flavours and feelings all mixed up together within this environment so breathtaking with a speechless service! I love you DISHOOM!!

  10. Ron says:

    Congrats. How come Dishoom is venturing east before entering the more urbanised West. A branch in Notting Hill or South Kensington would have been more obvious..

  11. S says:

    Congratulations….

    This place is an instant mood lifter….An ode to d good ol Bombay we miss so much…Bought a smile on my face..waiting to visit this place again with my husband and see him devour his favourites…Thums up…

  12. seema says:

    well done guys… cant wait :-)

  13. Awesome! And the boundaries are changed forever here!

  1. Laxmi (@laxmi) says:
    September 9, 2012

    Awesome! And the boundaries are changed forever here!

  2. seema says:
    September 7, 2012

    well done guys... cant wait :-)

  3. S says:
    September 4, 2012

    Congratulations....

    This place is an instant mood lifter....An ode to d good ol Bombay we miss so much...Bought a smile on my face..waiting to visit this place again with my husband and see him devour his favourites...Thums up...

  4. Ron says:
    September 3, 2012

    Congrats. How come Dishoom is venturing east before entering the more urbanised West. A branch in Notting Hill or South Kensington would have been more obvious..

  5. Ricky says:
    August 28, 2012

    I can't wait for this mega overdose of flavours and feelings all mixed up together within this environment so breathtaking with a speechless service! I love you DISHOOM!!

  6. Girish says:
    August 27, 2012

    Lovely piece, knew about the Shoreditch opening already but enjoyed reading this nevertheless, charmingly written! An ode to the Dishoom personality.

  7. Dishoom says:
    August 21, 2012

    Thank you all for the kind comments - we're really excited, and very touched by your kind words. Do drop us an email on hello@dishoom.com for invites to fun stuff...

    Sanjay - how do we dream it up? Two words my friend. Bhang. Lassi.

    Kidding... mostly ;-)

  8. Maunika says:
    August 20, 2012

    Now even more reasons to visit London! Congratulations guys. Very much looking forward to sampling pav bhaji, vada pav and the awesome delights of Mumbai you bring to London. Here's wishing a branch in Newcastle isnt far off eh!:)

  9. Sanjay says:
    August 20, 2012

    How do you guys dream this stuff up? Fantastic. Can’t wait to come and see it :-)

  10. Adam says:
    August 19, 2012

    Great news guys - really excited to come and visit!!

    (cant comment without promoting but I genuinely think Loyalli would be a cool tool for your business - rewarding customer loyalty! ...check out www.loyalli.com)

  11. Harv says:
    August 17, 2012

    Can't wait! Been obsessed with Dishoom for a long while before moving to London from Canada. :)

  12. Priyanka says:
    August 17, 2012

    Wohooo!! Now my favorite vada-pav and thump up are walking distance away. Congratulations guys!!

  13. Urvashi@BotanicalBaker says:
    August 16, 2012

    Wow! Well done guys. Really proud of you and your expanding empire :-)

BOMBAY
LONDON

Sign up for news, events,
gifts and suchlike