“Who wants to see some magic?” Chef Arun calls out.
He flings the rolled out dough into the air, sending it soaring above the counter.It spins and twists, a graceful dancer in the air. The children watch its arc, their eyes wide with wonder, until it lands gently back in the chef's hands. The children shriek in delight.
With February comes a gladdening of spirits, lighter morning skies and discernibly louder birdsong. It is also the month to bid farewell to our winter cocoons (at least partially) and tune back into the world beyond our blankets. Allow us to ease the de-hibernation process, by sharing some of the things piquing our interest this month.
January is a most divisive month. For some it heralds the hopeful turning over of new leaves; for others it is a month to trudge begrudgingly through towards the promise of spring. Whichever camp you find yourself in, we have plentiful diversions to share. See them as the cherry atop your already gleeful January cake, or a welcome distraction while you await winter’s end.
I AM HERE, dear reader, slovenly and slouched, staring into my drink at the end of the bar in our new restaurant in Battersea. My mind is still down and out, sifting around in the dregs of ’23 but of course it knows that I should really straighten my back, raise my chin and look squarely up into the cold new light of ’24. My drink – Choti’s Punch – clear and strong, sweet with a little salt, may help.
When we create a Dishoom, we always imagine it as an Irani café deeply rooted in an aspect of Bombay history. We then sit down and write a story – a different founding myth – which guides every single detail of that space.
For Chef Rishi Anand Khatri, our newest café special is in fact an old family favourite. His earliest memory of eating Bhatti Chicken is aged 7 or 8, and he recalls his father – the late Khatri Saab – cooking it regularly, thanks to the tandoor on their Delhi terrace. (Bhatti refers to the scorching flame that the chicken is roasted over, until succulent).
The festive season is about to hit its stocking-clad stride. And while we’ll be Christmas jumper-wearing, mince pie-eating and last-minute shopping, we’ll be keeping a close eye out. Here’s our list of things to do in December (in between sips of Chai eggnog).
With each new café that we open, we write a story deeply rooted in Bombay history or culture. This story, known to us as the founding myth, informs all aspects of the restaurant’s design. We spend months researching the Bombay of the period and combing the city for the right furniture, both vintage and new. In a way, you walk across our thresholds into our stories.
Bedecked in their annual finery of baubles, tinsel and lights, our cafés are ready to receive you for your Christmas celebration. So too are our chefs, who have assembled a most excellent array of festive fare for your table.
Our soft launch will run from 27th November to 2.30pm on 5th December. And to express our gratitude for being among our first guests, all food can be enjoyed at 50% off across breakfast, lunch and dinner – yes, really.
Stop by any Bombay tapri (street stall), café, or home, and you will likely find yourself with a gently steaming glass of chai in hand. Before the invention of chai, Bombayites drank kadha, an ayurvedic remedy for coughs and colds made of boiled water and spices like cardamom, cloves and nutmeg. Eventually locals started adding tea leaves, milk, honey and sugar to their ‘kadha’. Chai was born.
Winter days are truly here — sometimes crisp and sparkling with sunshine, sometimes bleak with lashing rain and biting cold. But, while mornings and evenings may be darker now, there is still an abundance of light in the world (not to mention goodness, beauty and talent) that should be celebrated. Allow us to share what we are doing (with grateful hearts) this month.
In Bombay, a city surrounded by the sea, seafood is fresh and available in abundance. And feasting on it is a regular and exuberant activity — almost a birthright. Bombayites, raised on the spoils of the sea, crowd into famed spots for favourite dishes. Mahesh Lunch Home for Jumbo Crab and Butter Pepper Garlic Prawns. Trishna for Tandoori Lobster and Squid Koliwada. Or Gajalee for Clam Masala and Stuffed Pomfret.
Beaming through a tucked away corner of Brighton’s busy lanes, Permit Room is open and ready to welcome one and all. Not to be confused with the buzzy bars in our Dishoom cafés, this Permit Room is an outpost all of its own. An all-day bar-café, ready to welcome you from a hearty breakfast until our weekly guest DJs spin their last record of the night.
Autumn is teasing us with the odd chilly morning, and evenings spent bundled in blankets are beckoning. But if we may make a case for venturing out into the crispness, here is what we’re looking forward to in October.
This year, on Wednesday 8th November, you are warmly invited to join us at The Steel Yard from 7pm until midnight for a night of dancing and deliciousness. Our friend, the creative marvel Almass Badat, has curated a most diverting array of South-Asian performers to help you dance the night away under the lights of the main auditorium.
Christmas is fast approaching, but there's still time to decide on gifts for friends, family, neighbours and the like. Fortunately, the Dishoom Store stocks a range of extremely lovely products to suit all manner of recipients (though you may be sorely tempted to keep them for yourself!)
The sun is momentarily out again. Calendars are fast filling up. There’s many a thing to do and many a friend to meet. And if we may kindly add to the excitement and the plan-making, here’s our list of what we’re looking forward to in September.
While we were at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we caught Evening Conversations, an engaging show by Sudha Bhuchar. We caught up with her after the show to talk about her journey and her views on South Asian representation on screen, which you can read below. And for those who didn’t walk down the cobbled streets of the city or stumble into an impromptu performance this year, we highly recommend it for 2024.
Each year as August dawns, the streets and rooms and corners of Edinburgh fill with music, art, laughter and song. Wander into grand halls and pokey pubs, as the morning sun rises or in the dark of night, to see creations of every kind as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In honour of this wonderful celebration of the performing arts (and as a little treat), here’s a special edition Dishoom Loves, covering all the acts we’ve circled on our festival programme.
For anyone looking to learn or read more on Partition, this page holds a series of resources, for all ages, created by people knowledgeable and knowing about such matters. It is by no means definitive – we have simply found them to be useful, inspiring and accessible.
Welcome to a brand new month of Dishoom Loves. For those who often receive our emails, and for those who follow us on Instagram, you’ll know that we worked together with the ever-so-talented artist Manjit Thapp. Peruse our first-ever collection of limited-edition T-shirts (they’re available to buy now!) So this month, we thought it would be wonderful to hear about all the things Manjit Loves. Have a little read.
The Lamb Raan Bun is back in our select cafés for a limited time only and we can't promise that it will make a return visit. The story goes that the dish can be traced to Alexander the Great. So make haste and join us, lest you miss out on its legendary juicy deliciousness.
Recently, we came across three trailblazing women from India and Britain’s shared history: Rani Lakshmi Bai, Sophia Duleep Singh, and Homai Vyarawalla. Fierce, talented, rule-breaking women, whose stories were relatively unknown in the UK. We decided to celebrate these women by creating three T-shirts, each emblazoned with an illustration of one of our trailblazers. And we knew immediately which illustrator we wanted to collaborate with: Manjit Thapp.
No-one likes a goody two shoes. It's the rebels, the renegades, that colleague that crows "I don't care what anyone thinks!" that secretly (or not so secretly) thrill us. We wish we could be a little more like them. Causing chaos for something we believe in. Challenging norms, whatever the consequences. Crashing through life on our own agenda. We’d love to be more Rosa Parks and more Martin Luther King.
This month we gathered together in east London for The Trailblazers– a Dishoom Presents event that shone the spotlight on three rule-breaking women (Rani Lakshmi Bai, Sophia Duleep Singh and Homai Vyarawalla), whose stories were often hidden between the pages of history. Coming away inspired, we're extremely excited to learn about and share the stories of these iconic women. So, this month…
Even the most orderly of hosts can fray under the demands of preparing a successful barbecue. To prevent this, we have provided some crowd pleasing side dish ideas that will both pair optimally with our Summer Barbecue Box and provide popularity with friends and family. Do read on for easy-to-follow recipes.
This chicken biryani is our homage to Britannia’s Chicken Berry Pulao, using cranberries in place of the more authentic Persian barberries, which are tricky to find. (Despite much cajoling, Mr Kohinoor has never shared his wife’s famous recipe.) It is prepared in the kacchi style, originating from Hyderabad, in which marinated raw meat goes into the pot, to be cooked at the same time as the rice.
From books to read in the sunshine, exhibitions to sneak into when the clouds come out and a special historical moment. Read on for all the things we're loving in June.
The origins of chintz can be firmly – and humbly – traced back to 16th century India. The word ‘chintz’ is derived from the Hindi word ‘chint’, meaning spotted or splattered. These intricate designs and endless patterns were traditionally hand-printed using wooden blocks - kalamkari - and brilliantly coloured natural dyes.
Along with each new month comes a smattering of new cultural happenings. And as the sun shines brighter, diaries fill up faster. This May, make space in your calendar for some of the brilliant things Dishoom Loves.
As before, we’re so pleased to share with you a collection of first-class recommendations and much-loved cultural fixtures that we’re currently enjoying. And as we revel in the longer days and shorter nights, here’s a quick selection of all things Dishoom loves.
We often find it too easy to hurtle through the days, in an attempt to outpace the bustling city – be it London or Bombay – which always seems to be running away like a steam-engine train on a rickety track. Occasionally, it does us good to pause for thought, to disembark the carriage and sit on the platform awhile.
How does one create a space where people can truly connect over food? How can a host make their guests feel relaxed, at ease, and suitably cared for? Since launching our all-new Dishoom Crockery, we have been pondering the answers to these questions even more than usual. We recently discussed them with Creative Director - and frequent dinner party hostess - Kirthanaa Naidu when we invited her to create a first-class tablescape in our Canary Wharf café.
Each year, the spring equinox – when day and night are equal length – marks a transition in earth’s relationship with the sun. This event, sacred to many cultures throughout history, today thrives as a new year celebration for hundreds of millions.
In Bombay, London, and throughout the South Asian diaspora, you’ll find many folks of the Zoroastrian faith (amongst others) celebrating this new year, or Navroz as we like to call it.
With parents hailing from Punjab and Rajasthan, growing up, our Head of Research and Development-walla, Chef Rishi Anand had access to the flavourful foods from both states. “One of the reasons I am a chef today is because of my mum’s food and my dad’s love for food. Both of them loved to cook and, importantly, they loved to feed mouth-watering dishes to those around them”, he says.
A nurturing presence, neatly packed lunches, and homes that exude warmth – radiating from the walls and from the person within. In uncertain times, we look to the motherly figures in our lives for gentle guidance, affection and life’s most important lessons. For those looking to show gratitude this Mother’s Day, new curiosities have appeared on the Dishoom Store. We hope to impart a little inspiration as we share gifts to guarantee warm smiles.
As February draws to a close, March brings a promise of spring, longer days and a collection of first-class recommendations that we’re looking to enjoy over the coming month. Settle in with a chai, as we share more of what Dishoom Loves.
The designer and co-founder of Bombay Duck Designs has spent her life in the city and can’t think of anywhere else to call home. In 2008, Zeenat’s brother Sameer Kulavoor set up Bombay Duck Designs, one of the earliest specialised design studios in India. After graduating from university, Zeenat joined the company with her knowledge of design and typography, both of which beautifully complemented her brother’s illustration style.
Whether you show fondness with acts of service or with suitably thoughtful gifts, the Dishoom Store is brimful of curiosities sure to impress loved ones this Valentine’s day. Do read on for our handy gift guide below and find an ample array of gifts from make-at-home café classics to calming home fragrance. The Home Feast will soon be making its departure from the Dishoom store, (so while you still can) delight in generous servings of our most-loved dishes, to be cooked at home.
Each month hereon we look forward to sharing with you, our dear friends, a collection of first-class recommendations and much-loved cultural fixtures that we’re currently enjoying. And with much to look forward to in February, here’s what Dishoom Loves.
The phone keeps ringing shrilly through the flat. Nauzer holds his head in his hands, palms clamped over his ears. “Beta, the phone!” He forgot his mother would still be here. He can’t have her answering in case it is Devia. He runs into the corridor to pick it up. It stops just before he can reach it. Breathless, he looks up and sees his mother in the kitchen.
Tucked away in a lovely corner of Wood Wharf, Dishoom Canary Wharf is now officially open and ready to welcome you all. The marble-top bar is ready to hold your drink, the textured, patterned (and extremely comforting) chairs are waiting to be kept warm and the hand-painted mural and carefully curated art – from Bombay and beyond – are waiting to be part of your conversations.
Christmas Revellers rejoice! For we have a whole host of festive fun lined up that is taking place up and down the country. Kindly read on to learn what jovial affairs are going on in your city for the all-important business of diary marking.
No party is complete without some delectable pours to toast the host with the most. For the crafty amongst us, bring out the shakers and strainers and the channel knife and pour your energy into building our festive concoction – The Taj Ballroom Toddy. A warming tipple inspired by The Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where Bombay’s jazz age was born.
Neatly wrapped presents sitting patiently under the tree. Excited hands, a quick tug of the string, a sharp tear of paper, the reveal of a thoughtful gift, a smile and soft contented sigh. For those after such gifts that fill the room with joy, may the Dishoom Store be your guide. Brimful with barmy gifts and sundries, contents that guarantee that no one is left displeased. For inspiration, have a little scroll.
The trees are going up – topper included, strings of sparkly lights are being strung and festive tunes are starting to gently waft around amidst busy kitchen clattering. In our cafés, Christmas is almost here and with it, copious amounts of cheer. Behind the scenes, our Chef-wallas are busy introducing a hint of Bombay to this year’s festive delights, including the never-seen-before Bacon, Brie and Cranberry Naan Roll!
This Christmas if you’re seeking boutique gifts that are as unique as the people you’re buying them for, might we kindly point you in the direction of some truly exciting young South Asian businesses with an offering of choice gifts that can be considered for Christmas and beyond.
Nauzer stands straight, squares his shoulders. For a moment, he is taken in by her smile. He can believe that this interview is the result of him focusing his energy, heart and mind on working hard, on helping his community; that his pursuit of profit is honourable; and his is a success story worth writing about.
Each Dishoom café is built on inspiring trips to Bombay, fond conversations, cherished relationships and lifelong friendships we’ve made along the way. In this journal post, one such friend, Mortimer Chatterjee, wanders through Bombay’s modern art history, and recalls particular pieces which can soon be seen hanging on the walls in our Canary Wharf café.
After much daydreaming, we will officially open the doors of our newest, swishest café on Wednesday 30th November, but before then, we are so very excited to invite you to the soft launch.
Thursday 12th April – 1973, BOMBAY. It is almost light outside. It must be about six. He’s been awake half the night trying to figure out what to do. Lying on his bed, he stares through the rotating blades of the ceiling fan which only serve to stir the close warm air of his room. He needs to think – he’s running out of time. But his eyes feel salted and his head throbs.
This year, on Thursday 20th October, we will celebrate the festival of light at Studio Spaces in Wapping. A night-time affair filled with poetry, live music and bespoke dance performances curated in partnership with our good friend Sweety Kapoor. You may also join us in our cafés for first-class seasonal specials.
In August, we held a series of events to commemorate 75 Years of Indian Independence and the creation of Pakistan. Before the events took place, we were delighted to sit down with Soumik, a super-talented musician, composer and sarod player, who composed the musical score to accompany the 75 Years series to discuss music, identity and inclusivity.
With greatest delight, we are beyond excited to share that on 30th November we’ll be opening the doors to the brand-new, most fine and gorgeous Dishoom Canary Wharf!
We’re delighted to have taken part in Dialogues of Diaspora’s new series. Especially as it meant spending time and chatting with our dear friend, the brilliant and effervescent, Shalina Patel. She’s also kindly taken a quick moment to share more on ‘unexpected’ moments in South Asian and British history below. Read on here.
A sudden wide smile. Grateful eyes. Thoughtfully selected gifts adored. For those seeking the smug satisfaction of gifting the very-best Father’s Day gift – peruse below. Socks and slippers (though essential) do not feature. Instead, the Dishoom Store stocks a range of rather charming gifts that will guarantee you continue to be the best-loved child.
Our wonderful friends at Dialogues of Diaspora have done something awesome. Get ready to sit-down and listen-in to eye-opening conversations in their brand-new three-part series which sheds a unique light on the South Asian Diaspora. They unpack interesting views on identity, history, music, fashion – share untold stories and ask thought-provoking questions. We’re so excited to be involved and extremely humbled to be in such talented and wonderful company. Watch Episode One here.
Chef Naved is delighted to share the secrets of not-even-in-the-cookbook recipe. A most delicious at-home lunch, or a welcome addition to your Sunday table.
As a thirteen year old boy in Delhi with endless energy and appetite, I treasured Sunday mornings. I’d wake up early, jump on my rickety Hero Cycle bicycle and hurriedly pedal five miles to a park close to Shantivan and Raj Ghat. There, me and my friends would set-up makeshift stick stumps and play cricket for hours… or until our minds and bellies turned (inevitably) to food.
The festival of Eid al-Fitr (literally “the Celebration of the Breaking of the Fast”) marks the conclusion of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month where restraint and discipline must be practised.
In India, mealtimes are very much a family affair and everything is shared which makes these cheese-and-pastry twirls perfect for making together this half-term. They’re incredibly easy to make, which make them just right for keeping little hands happily occupied during the holidays.
The culmination of Ramadan will bring with it Chand Raat (the night of the moon), an evening of great excitement and unity. It’s the eventide or moment the first crescent moon of the month is observed, which marks the end of the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, a period of fasting, prayer and reflection, and the start of Eid, the beginning of great festivities.
Compassion. Generosity. Discipline. Honesty. Selflessness. Tolerance. These principles lie at the heart of Islam. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are bound to give, share and take care of others.
There’s something rather special about a chutney. Dipped, dabbed, daubed, nicely spicy or slightly sharp-biting yet pleasantly sweet. They enhance lots of dishes, and not just with their unique flavour. They remind us of dear memories previously past: a family recipe (always secret before you ask), an ingredient or even a moment in time.
When you work at Dishoom, we see it as our responsibility to support you, develop you and help you flourish, so that your life – in work and out of it, now and in the future – can be richer and more rewarding.
There’s nothing quite like Holi. Literally, you have to see it to believe it. All over India, hordes of ordinary people seem to lose their collective minds, abandon all sense of decorum and go a bit wild on the streets, chasing and pelting each other with gulal (coloured powders). As the vibrant powders are unleashed on enthusiastic – or unsuspecting – revellers, social boundaries are blurred with colour and for that one crazy day, anything goes.
For chilly mornings, this Banana & Date Porridge is guaranteed to warm you up. Slow-energy releasing oats and natural fruity sweetness come together to form a hearty breakfast that will keep you thoroughly sated until lunchtime. You can easily whip up a batch in the comfort of your home or come down to one of our cafés to enjoy bottomless portions.
If you know a little about us, you may know that our restaurants, our cookery book, our food and drink – in fact, anything and everything we do! – are all deeply rooted in a profound love for Bombay. It’s easier to show, rather than tell, and so, we're inviting you to explore the city by way of a photo journal, including many dishes and places which have inspired our recipes. A love-letter-of-sorts to the city of Bombay.
On any given day (but particularly on Valentine’s) we want your hearts and bellies to sing. Howsoever you choose to join in the love-filled celebrations this year, we wish you the dreamiest day and hope you can drink (chai) deeply and wrap your busy teeth around plenty of Dishoom classics at home. Do read on to indulge in some inspiration.
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. A time to shower deepest affection and kindness onto partners, friends, family (or even yourself!)... So, if you're in search of a suitably thoughtful, slightly barmy gift, the Dishoom Store is brim-ful with eclectic delights to suit all persons and purses – do read on for a little inspiration.
Chef Naved is delighted to share the secrets of his Lamb Raan. A wonderful dish of tender, slow-cooked raan (leg), pulled into silky shreds and combined with a deliciously savoury masala.
During this long, dark month, you may find much-needed comfort in this Pineapple & Black Pepper Crumble recipe. It’s almost too easy to make, and will warm, soothe and satiate. (It can also be made vegan with simple substitutions.) May the vibrant pineapple inspire joyful memories of faraway places and warmer climes!
IN THESE DYING DAYS of ’21 I am here again, dear reader, at the bar in our restaurant in Shoreditch. I am the stubbled and scruffy regular, squinting at the bartender through slightly wonky glasses, brooding over the year gone by.
Christmas is one of our very favourite times of the year, and its jovial spirit is upon us. Lights are twinkling, the scent of mulled wine is wafting through the air and many parties are afoot. Feast in our cafés, join us for an evening of Christmas carols, enjoy your favourite Dishoom delights in the comfort of your home, or allow our Store to cater for your party and gifting needs.
Hosting first-class get-togethers to celebrate the year’s biggest festivals is one of our very favourite things to do. Recently, we had the privilege of having hundreds of you join us to mark the joyous festival of light that is Diwali, and now, the jovial spirit of Christmas is upon us. On Thursday 16th December, we'll be taking over Amazing Grace for a fantastically festive evening of hearty Christmas carolling.
In Bombay, vegetarian dishes abound. From street food stalls to lavish banquets, there is no need of meat to provide a fulsome feast, and many Bombayites forgo it happily. This is one of the reasons our restaurant and delivery menus are so vegetarian-friendly, and so it was obvious, in hindsight, that the Dishoom Store needed to catch up.
In the days and weeks before Diwali, the excitement and gaiety flickers through Bombay like electricity. It is with that same sense of excitement that we announce we can once again bring friends and family together for a first-class partee. With almost two years since our last get-together, it brings unsurpassed joy to be able to finally share the particulars of our 2021 Diwali celebrations.
We’re simply thrilled to share the (extra-special, not-even-in the-book) recipe for Chef Naved's Chilli Chicken, inspired by an Indo-Chinese favourite from Bombay’s Leopold Cafe.
The Dishoom Home Feast allows you to bring family and friends together at home over a generous selection of our most-loved dishes. This all-new kit provides welcome shortcuts to favourite Dishoom dishes – you’ll receive an ensemble cast of café classics, all suitable for dishing up and sharing with family and friends.
Last year, to celebrate the opening of Dishoom Birmingham, we launched an exciting writing competition with our good friends at Birmingham Stories, part of the National Literacy Trust. Entrants were tasked with writing a story inspired by the café’s founding myth: the story of Roda Irani.
The Dishoom Bacon Naan Roll has something of a cult following; it must surely be our signature breakfast dish. Try it at home with our signature recipe.
There are many varieties of Chai. The kind we make at Dishoom is the sort of spicy, sweet Chai you will find at Bombay's innumerable tapris (street stalls), normally poured with great dexterity and skill from arm's length into a small, stout glass. The powerful concoction of milk, sugar and caffeine is what keeps the city running.
We began working with the Akshaya Patra Foundation in 2015, supporting them in their goal of ending hunger as a barrier to education in India. Over the years, we’ve developed lasting friendships with the incredible team and had the sincere privilege of visiting many of the schools and communities they serve in India. Last month, we celebrated reaching the milestone of donating 10 million meals to hungry children with Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra through our meal for a meal partnership. Akshaya Patra’s CEO and Trustee, Bhawani Singh Shekhawat, kindly took the time to reflect on the impact of the foundation’s life-changing work.
We began working with Magic Breakfast in 2015, supporting them in their goal of ending hunger as a barrier to education in the UK. Over the years, we’ve developed lasting and loyal friendships with the incredible team and their partner schools. This month, we celebrate reaching the milestone of donating 10 million meals to hungry children in partnership with Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra. Magic Breakfast’s Head of Schools, Rachael Anderson, has kindly taken the time to reflect on the last six years of our work together, as well as sharing her thoughts on the profound impact the past twelve months have had.
Since 2015, for every Dishoom meal you’ve enjoyed (whether in the cafés, via delivery, or as a meal kit), we’ve donated a meal to a child that might otherwise go hungry. A meal for a meal. This month, as we reached the milestone of donating 10 million meals, we had occasion to catch up with our dear friends and long-term charity partners, Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra. The work both charities do to end hunger as a barrier to education is simply incredible and we’re extremely proud to be able to support them and the communities they serve in the UK and India, respectively. We kindly invite you to take a moment to hear their reflections on our partnership and on the impact of the very important work they do.
Our Old-Fashioned bottled cocktail takes its name from the Permit Room bar, found in every Dishoom and so named after the official term for all Bombay drinking establishments, in which, according to the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949, only permit-holders may consume alcohol. Herein, liquor can be sold and imbibed, but only for the goodness of one’s health.
Though the doors of the Permit Room are closed for now, you can still enjoy our tipples in bottled form at home. Follow our lead to achieve the perfect pour, and transport yourself back to a cosy corner of the bar.
Uttapam are a fluffy savoury dosa, made with rice. They're usually enjoyed with savoury toppings but we particularly like ours with lashings of jaggery syrup and a thick, strained yoghurt. Chef Naved has shared his recipe for making an extra fluffy stack at home.
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.
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.
These are the last few days, the dregs of 2019. It’s my habit to sit here in the Permit Room at this time. I am the be-stubbled and dishevelled regular, cherishing his precious drink at the end of the bar. Weary, I sit here pondering the year, attempting to figure out what it was trying to teach me. What wisdom can I glean from it?
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.
Chef Naved’s Haleem has made a number of appearances on the Dishoom menu over the years and we are delighted to share Chef’s much-cherished Haleem recipe.
We have arrived at a very sad, but inevitable and clear choice. As of now, all Dishooms are now closed to diners.
Crisp and organised, Roda Irani leads her daughter through the narrow gullies of Swadeshi Market. “Come, let us get to the café.”
Its not often you get the chance to make 1 + 1 = 3, but if you ever do - you should grab it with both hands. Because these are the moments you will remember, the ones you will cherish, the ones that makes it all worthwhile.
Under a canopy of stars and lights, we welcomed our biggest-ever line-up of exceptional South Asian talent to Dinerama for our Diwali celebrations.
We’re delighted to be partnering with the brilliant HOME on their ‘Not Just Bollywood’ film season as a part of their year-long programme ‘Celebrating Women in Global Cinema’. The season runs from Wednesday 11th September – Wednesday 2nd October, 2019 and champions women filmmakers...
“Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny; and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom...
Not long ago, a team of enterprising and energetic Dishoom chef-wallas sauntered into the kitchen and put their heads together. They were musing over how to make breakfast bigger, better, more exciting, more delicious for all.
On Monday 18th March, Chef Naved enjoyed a well-deserved break from the kitchen. For this one very unusual evening, his chef’s whites remained pristine and pressed in his locker.
That the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949 has never been repealed is a lovely Bombay peculiarity. This piece of legislation states that officials must issue permits for alcohol, and even then only in emergency cases.
6th September, 2018 will be marked in Indian history as the day when love won. At 11:30am, the Supreme Court scrapped Section 377 – the notorious law that criminalised homosexuality.
It is a hazy November morning and it is already warm. The roads are thronged with bullock carts, cycles and pedestrians.
In July, four Dishoom-wallas went to Maine to visit the Seeds of Peace summer camp. We’ve been working with this amazing charity for three years now, and this was an opportunity for us to learn more...
For us and many of our team members, Eid is a really happy, special day; a day where people come together with friends and family and celebrate joyfully with food – lots and lots of food!
Bhawani Singh Shekhawat is the CEO of Akshaya Patra – an extraordinarily brilliant charity that we first linked up with during Ramadan in 2015. At Diwali the same year, we made the partnership permanent.
In September 2017, we met top musician, composer and all-round cool cat, Dom James. Countless late-night jazz sessions later, Dom went on to curate the rather excellent music for our one-off, immersive theatre production – ‘Night at the Bombay Roxy‘.
Inevitably, I’m here again in the Permit Room. This time in Dishoom in Kensington. Wondering whether it’s still 1940s Bombay in here.
Cheer-filled carol singing, mince pies, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and Dishoom House Chai... a proper Christmas carolling.
The very clever and extremely talented guys from Swamp have been scouring all of London (and beyond) for the best and most talented individuals to bring to life our one-off immersive theatre production Night at the Bombay Roxy.
It is a close and heavy monsoon night on Marine Lines. Despite the weather, there is a jostling of people outside the Bombay Roxy.
Fear; we’ve all felt it. Fear for ourselves, fear for others, fear for the future. It’s a really powerful and unsettling feeling.
Vaisakhi, a day marked across India by people of many faiths, is celebrated in the Punjab as the start of the new Harvest. It falls on the 13th or 14th April depending on the calendar for that year.
Last week, a motley gang of Dishoom-wallas found themselves at a glitzy awards do in Battersea, feeling a bit like Peter Sellers at The Party with our slightly-too-tight tuxedos, five’o’clock shadows and squeaky shoes.
In spring 2016, two thousand of you joined us for our biggest and best Holi celebrations yet. We all partied together with open hearts, and open minds – it was wonderful to be part of it.
YOU WILL NOT BE SURPRISED to learn, dear reader, that December’s fuggy cloud of tiredness is driving me once again to seek answers here in the Permit Room.
2016 was a busy year – but an oh-so-very brilliant one in our Dishoom world! Here’s a little look at what we got up to…
Where it stands says so much about a café. Built to hug Bombay’s busiest street corners, iconic restaurants still left gracing a few such prime plots were once considered inauspicious by superstitious sections of the Hindu community.
Magic Breakfast is a charity with one objective – to make sure no child starts their school day too hungry to learn.
We have always loved sharing the magic of Diwali with our friends and families.
BOMBAY, MARCH 1923. Botanist, ecologist, and all-round man of the people Patrick Geddes reclines on a long-armed rattan chair.
Lord Ganesh sits quietly at the entrance of every Dishoom. The guardian of the door to Parvati’s bath, our much-loved Hindu deity is as brave as he is kind.
It’s a funny thing, hunger, isn’t it? Not the everyday hunger that most of us feel before mealtimes, but real, gnawing, empty-bellied hunger.
In Dishoom King’s Cross, we pay homage to a particularly special, pioneering woman whose aim was to capture the world through her camera so that important moments in history might always be remembered and preserved.
Once again, dear reader, I’m back here. I am the weary, be-stubbled regular propping up one end of the bar in the Permit Room at the same time every year. I have a burra peg of something stiff at my elbow.
Personally I have always loved piecing together music. Segue-ing tracks or styles together, or juxtaposing different sounds to create something that feels exciting, or surprising. I started doing it in my early teens.
Our research for Dishoom Carnaby took us down many unexpected avenues. We started to investigate the world of rock’n’roll Bombay in the ’60s and made lots of new friends.
November. 1967. Heathrow airport. A young man leans against the Oceanic terminal’s high windows, waiting for the final call for BOAC flight 774 to Bombay.
When we began thinking about Dishoom Carnaby, we came across a surprising relationship that flourished in the 1960s, when Western influences kicked off a rocking music scene in Bombay.
On the window of Dishoom King’s Cross, we painted the iconic and resounding words of the great Rabindranath Tagore
On sunny Saturday 4th July 2015, The Crossing (inside the atrium of the Granary Building at King’s Cross) became an oasis of calm.
In March, Lewis Cubitt Square in King’s Cross became the stage for our biggest Holi celebration yet! For the first time, we decided to the take the fun outside and despite the slightly imperfect weather conditions, it was totally, utterly brilliant.
Back here again. A burra peg of Horniman’s Old Fashioned at my elbow.
NOT SO LONG AGO we were wondering to ourselves: “What might have happened if a young Irani had set up a café in a Godown (warehouse) behind Bombay’s Victoria Terminus, C. 1928?”
One January morning in 1928, a young Irani – not long arrived in Bombay – was waiting to collect a parcel at Victoria Terminus. Unusually, the train was running late...
Naved has even kindly shared his own recipe for the Chilli Garlic Crab, so – if you can’t make it to in to see us – at least you can share in our celebrations at home!
An old Irani gentleman and his granddaughter sit in the shade of his café, underneath the least erratic fan. The little girl turns to her grandfather with a quizzical look on her face, and asks him a question
As a young girl with Indian roots, growing up in nineties Britain wasn’t actually too bad.
Cast your sins into the fire. Throw colours with random strangers, and random abandon. Laugh freely and joyously. Dance. Laugh again.
About this time every year I do the exact same thing. I sit in the Permit Room, a Viceroy’s Old Fashioned at my elbow, and think about the year gone by. All that’s happened and not happened.
There are some things in life so perfectly matched – such winning combinations – that you wonder quite what anyone did before they came along...
In September 2013, at Dishoom Shoreditch, we’re hosting a ‘cabinet of curiosity’ curated by This is Provenance as part of the London Design Festival.
Imagine a summer afternoon, unusually sunny; hot, humid and expectant, like Bombay just before the monsoon. The kind of day that might make Londoners stop in their tracks.
From the moment we arrive, we accumulate our own layers of stories and experiences, remembered events and remembered emotions.
A glorious, exuberant, colourful, joy-filled mess. Everyone from the tiniest little children to the most elderly aunty-jis had a fantastic time.
Martyrs’ Day marks the anniversary of the day Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (fondly known to many as Bapu) was shot down by Nathuram Godse.
2012 strikes us as a year of contradictions. Yes, it was another year of economic turmoil, of grim declarations from a glum Chancellor about “austerity measures” and “belt-tightening”.
Chilli. Mexican. Or maybe Tex-Mex. Not really Bombay, or indeed Indian, at all.
Amber skies, street lights with their haloes, electric signs, and bonfires with their candle flames and smell of cinnamon.
Bombay. This magnificent yet (at times) mad “maximum city” is heaving with people of all backgrounds, races and religions.
Locations made familiar in Bollywood films, Victoria carriages, a melting pot of communities… and for the days I felt homesick I had Wembley, Southall and Brick Lane.
One day, an eccentric 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.
Siblings can be frustrating, can’t they? Know-it-all elder sisters. Pesky little brothers, bullying big ones.
Last week, millions of Muslims around the world embarked on the month-long cycle of fasting, prayer and reflection that is Ramadan – the holiest month of the Islamic calendar.
Brian (still daydreaming of his recent, inaugural visit to Bombay): “You know what we need to really crack a Bombay Breakfast? Akuri. Oh man, that scrambled egg stuff made my stomach sit up and sing.
Wow. Thums Up. It’s kind of a Bombay institution, isn’t it? It’s one of those glorious things that never fails to sweep us back in time and conjure up treasured childhood memories of the homeland.
Everything seems just a bit different over the last twelve months. There’s a chill in the air somehow.
Christmas Turkey. Now be honest. Does the thought of it fill you with excitement? Does it make your taste buds stand to attention?
Cold, rainy morning, not very long ago in a comfortable booth at Dishoom on St Martin’s Lane.
Diwali draws near again, and with it fireworks, colour and celebrations.
‘What if an old Bombay Café were to take a gentle stroll down to Chowpatty Beach in about 1965 and drop a mild acid tab?’
Tomorrow is the anniversary of India's independence
A full year has snuck by since we opened up our slightly too small doors to welcome you all in.
On the Southbank (May 13th – Oct 4th 2011)
A cocktail inspired by the legendary Cornershop
Exclusive Sunday listening booth 3-5PM, 13th March 2011
A design can also tell a story
Falls on the 26th January
A poem by Joe Winter
2010 was the year that we finally expressed our affection for the disappearing Irani cafés.
Our first Diwali at Dishoom
A thought. A conversation. A reality.
A literary destination for Indians and tourists
Every Bombayite knows Bademiya
A lot has happened between these walls