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Dishoom

From Bombay with love

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The old Irani cafés of Bombay

ABOVE: The legendary B. Merwan on Bombay’s Grant Road dates from 1914 and is still open.

THE OLD IRANI CAFÉS have almost disappeared. Their faded elegance welcomed all: rich businessmen, sweaty taxi-wallas and courting couples. Students had breakfast, families dined, lawyers read their briefs and writers found their characters. Fans turned slowly. Bentwood chairs were reflected in stained mirrors, next to sepia family portraits.

Opened early last century by Zoroastrian immigrants from Iran, there were almost four hundred cafés at their peak in the 1960s. Now, fewer than thirty remain. These cafés broke down barriers by bringing people together over food and drink. They were the first places in Bombay where people of any culture, class or religion could take cool refuge from the street with a cup of chai, a simple snack or a hearty meal. People from all walks of life shared tables, rubbed shoulders and broke bread together.

Shared spaces beget shared experiences, and Bombay was more open and welcoming for the existence of these cafés.

Dishoom pays homage to the Irani cafés and the food of all Bombay.

THE OLD IRANI CAFÉS of Bombay have almost all disappeared. Their faded elegance welcomed all: courting couples, sweaty taxi-wallas, students, artists and lawyers. These cafés broke down barriers by bringing people together over food and drink. Bombay was more welcoming, more cosmopolitan, for their existence. Dishoom pays homage to the Irani cafés and the food of all Bombay.

Food & Drink

All day, every day

Bombay breakfast, lunch, afternoon chai, dinner and late tipples. Available for delivery.

Food & Drink

Breaking down barriers

Food is a way of breaking down barriers, and this is at the heart of what we do. Since Ramadan 2015, for every meal we serve, we donate a meal to a child who would otherwise go hungry. A meal for a meal. So far, we’ve donated 10 million meals (...and counting.)

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Celebrating differences

Our events bring people of all walks of life together to celebrate culture and food. Whether it’s bringing together non-Muslims to celebrate Eid, non-Hindus to celebrate Diwali, or people of every possible background to tie Knots of Protection – we create shared spaces where differences are celebrated rather than judged.

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The Dishoom store

For your at-home pleasure, our new online store offers little gifts for lucky recipients – yourself included.

Our very own Dishoom currency is now available online. Each coin is worth ten pounds sterling and can be used to settle all or part of the bearer’s bill at Dishoom.

There are also copies of the Dishoom Cookery Book and highly subjective guide to Bombay, with map.

And then there's Slip-Disc: Dishoom’s Bombay London Grooves – our very own vinyl LP and CD of 1960s Bombay-London music.
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The Dishoom Cookery book
Read the café stories

Suggested Reading

See the journal

Me, an Old-Fashioned, and some reflections on 2020.

IT HAS BEEN an annual December habit of mine, these past ten years since we embarked upon this restaurant business, to sit alone, with myself, and reflect on the year gone by. I am grateful to be here in the Permit Room in our restaurant in Shoreditch scribbling and writing, the oddly enjoyable taste of splintering wood from my chewed up pencil smoothed by my decently strong drink.

The Dishoom Covent Garden Story

BOMBAY, 1949. A sultry June evening. Lights glow golden. Candles flicker in the warm breeze that arrives gently through the large open windows of the café.

Our reopening news

These past months have brought strangeness and uncertainty for so many of us. Since we shut the doors of our restaurants in March, we haven’t felt like ourselves at all. The very point of Dishoom is to welcome you through our doors and to serve you the most delicious food and drink we can summon up in the warmest possible way.

The Dishoom Birmingham Story

Crisp and organised, Roda Irani leads her daughter through the narrow gullies of Swadeshi Market. “Come, let us get to the café.”

Awards & Accolades

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Best Small Group

Good Food Guide UK

2017

Ben McCormack

Squaremeal

Dishoom was a game-changer: stylish, affordable and with a defiantly youthful outlook that was more focused on how Londoners wanted to eat in the 21st-century than outdated British attitudes to both Indian cuisine and India itself.

Ranked #4 Best Company To Work For

Best Companies

2021

Winner of Best Breakfast & Brunch

HARDEN'S

2019

Richard Vines

Bloomberg

The staffers are friendly, the prices are low and the food is first-class. I had one of my most enjoyable meals of the year here. Dishoom well encapsulates the current trend for quality without fuss.

Awards and accolades

Ranked #4 Best Company To Work For

Best Companies

2021
See our awards

Rewarding Careers at Dishoom

Seva badge - Big Hearted & First Class

If you’re a big-hearted person looking for a first-class career in hospitality, read on.

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