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. You can watch the first episode here, and she’s also kindly taken a quick moment to share more on ‘unexpected’ moments in South Asian and British history below.
Enormous thanks to Shalina for her wonderful words.
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 Barbecue Box and provide popularity with friends and family. Do read on for easy-to-follow recipes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, on 21 March, you’ll find many folks of the Zoroastrian faith (amongst others) celebrating this new year, or Navroz as we like to call it.
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.
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!)
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.
The story goes that the dish can be traced to Alexander the Great.
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