That the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949 has never been repealed is a lovely Bombay peculiarity.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. Technically, therefore, all adults of legal drinking age (25 or above) need a permit if they want to drink in a bar in Bombay. It’s for this reason that bars in the city are called ‘Permit Rooms’.
By and large, this law is very sensibly forgotten. But in 2012 there was a particularly zealous police chief – ACP Vasant Dhoble – who remembered it. He notoriously took to closing down bars and nightclubs in Bombay brandishing a hockey stick, with which to mete out his peculiar brand of justice to unfortunate drinkers and dancers*. He has since been moved on and given up raiding bars, but should the ‘Murderer of Mumbai Nightlife’ ever come to London, he might find some amusement in the fact we’ve named an innocuous-looking breakfast cocktail ‘The Dhoble’, and all of our bars are adorned with a hockey stick and his photo.
But don’t worry – you’re not in any danger at Dishoom for we’ve concocted our first-ever entirely sober tipple menu that’s sure to appease Mr. Dhoble and keep any hockey stick flailing at bay.
Our Daru-walla has spent hours studying mixology tomes, determined to create drinks that have the same acidity and warmth as alcoholic tipples, without the risk of inebriation. As always he has out-done himself, concocting 7 sober tipples that don’t sacrifice on flavour or fun – all with sturdy heritage and a dash of nostalgia, of course.
And for beer-drinkers, enjoy star lager Estrella Free Damm – brewed using the same ingredients and process as normal beer, but it’s teetotal. Or for those partial to sharing a bottle, there’s a choice of alcohol-removed wines from Edenvale. Guaranteed temperate elegance for any celebration.
Do peruse the menu here and visit any Dishoom for a taste of sobriety.
For those wanting to taste at home, Daru-walla Jake has kindly shared the recipe for our Virgin Colaba Colada.
VIRGIN COLABA COLADA
70ml pineapple juice
30ml coconut cream
20ml lime juice
8g ground cinnamon
6g fresh ginger
½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
A pinch of coriander
1 cup of crushed ice
1. Add the above ingredients into a blender
2. Blend until smooth
3. Sip cooly and enjoy
*The Bombay Police Act, 1951, states that ‘customers and patrons themselves are only allowed to dance and at one time there should not be more than 10 couples on the dance floor.’
I love to truly understand and appreciate the origins of a dish, and learn how communities have adapted a recipe over time to make that dish unique to them.
We have arrived at a very sad, but inevitable and clear choice. As of now, all Dishooms are now closed to diners.
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.
Crisp and organised, Roda Irani leads her daughter through the narrow gullies of Swadeshi Market. “Come, let us get to the café.”