2010 was the year we said hello to the newly coalescing Head Boys, Cameron and Clegg. We said goodbye to a tired looking, bags-under-his-eyes Mr. Brown. We had an earthquake in Haiti, the shadow of a large Icelandic ash cloud covering Western Europe and terrible floods in Pakistan. Big Brother ended and little brother, Ed Miliband began (is there a third brother, a Joker called Steve?) The Chilean miners left their mine and Billy Windsor asked Cathy to tie the knot (bless them!). The Mad boys loved Joan(’s curves), and the Mad girls swooned over Don. It was the year of Wagner (who may or may not recognise a Valkyrie if it rode on him), the year of the very social Mr. Zuckerberg, the year of the leaky (allegedly doubly so) Mr. Assange, and the year of Twitter.
Back in the homeland, it was the year of the Delhi Commonwealth Games (with a just a touch of masala eggs on faces) and the year of IPL sleaze. We got to know the charming young Mr. Rahul Gandhi a bit better and India maintained speed in its one-way, headlong rush to modernity. Bombay become ever more frenetic. Economic progress and political scandal continued to be cheerfully energetic bed-fellows.
We said hello to some new favourite places. There was Koya in Soho and Caravan in Exmouth Market (February seems an age ago, doesn’t it?) We loved Les Deux Salons and lusted Hawksmoor Seven Dials. Kopapa earned our affections too (thank you to the great Mr. Gordon), just in the last two weeks. We were proud to be living in London.
2010 was also the year that we finally expressed our affection for the disappearing Irani Cafés, and tried to bring their Bombay café culture to London. We began striving to serve you a proper cup of Chai in Covent Garden (Cognac optional…!). We created a Berry Biryani in homage to the good Mr. Kohinoor of Britannia Café, grills like those at Bademiya and Pau Bhaji (which might remind you of the stuff on Chowpatty Beach). It was the year we made many friends on Facebook and Twitter, and many more within our four(ish) walls. It was the year many of you became loyal Dishoom-wallas – a sincere and heartfelt thank you!
We’re truly grateful to Mr. Dimond over at Time Out for four shiny stars even though he pointed out that our Biryani was coming out a bit dry. In fact, we were aghast at his feedback, and very earnestly convened a series of tastings and audits until it was properly moist again. It was a pleasure to transport him back to Bombay and make his top 3 openings of 2010. And we appreciate him coming back and noticing the improvements we kept making to the food.
To Ms Williams, Ms O’Loughlin and Ms Maschler of The Telegraph, The Metro and The Evening Standard, we say a gushy thank you for your praise. In fact, we’d never seen the word ‘gawjuss’ spelt that way until we saw Ms. O’Loughlin’s description of our bacon naan roll. We were very emotional the morning we read that. To the good Mr. Rayner of the Observer, we say thank you too (especially for saying our lamb chops were ‘very good indeed’), and we’d love to have you back. We were humbled by the awards granted to us by the London Restaurant Festival and by Restaurant Magazine, and by being a runner-up in the Time Out design category. And to the many food bloggers who risked their stomachs and their wallets, we’re grateful you came. You said so many nice things – and even when you occasionally didn’t, it was really useful. We read every single word.
We also have to say that our team this year have been stars. You all have big hearts and a lot of patience and put up with us very sweetly. Thank you!
Finally, of course, nothing happens without the unflinching support of our families. Your love is critical to anything we do, and is all the more appreciated given our exaggerated focus on chai and Pau Bhaji this year.
And why the picture of our Ganesh above this post? Well, he’s the deity we invoke whenever we start something new or if we’d like to have oncoming obstacles diminished.
Goodbye 2010. Hello 2011. May Ganeshji make all of your new beginnings great and your obstacles a little smaller!
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.
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.
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.