‘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?’
Doing it was loopier still. From surreal idea to physical reality, from old grey portakabin to Trippy Indian beach shack at the Festival of Britain, it took just over 3 months to bring to life. It really wasn’t easy, but it was much fun. It’s already beginning to feel like a bizarre, magical dream that we once had.
Naughty coconuts and Golas, drenched in summer alcohol. Endless all-day bacon naan–rolls. Bhel and Thums Up. Bombay Pimm’s. It’s a shame that it couldn’t stay with us for longer than the short 5 months. And it really was a proper London summer, wasn’t it? Rain, the odd sunny spell, and some damp, just for fun.
But we’ll take with us many memories of being tucked into the Indian-Beach-Shack-on-Thames serving up Bombay snacks and plying you with naughty green coconuts. It was lovely to meet so many new Dishoom-wallas and hang out with so many older ones. We Chowpatty-Beach-wallas had a blast with you all. And of course, we must thank you all for making it a great summer party. Chowpatty-Beach-wallas, Dishoom-wallas, Southbank-wallas and any other random-wallaswho washed up on our crazy beach over the summer. Truly, the beach shack was fun because of the people in it. (If you’re feeling nostalgic, or you didn’t come and are just curious, there’s a great gallery of pictures here.)
And as our closing date splutters into view, it seems that at least some of the multitude of Hindu gods are smiling on our last weekend. A few days of glorious, blazing sunshine (touch wood). Temperatures a bit like those on the real Chowpatty Beach. A final splash of heat and colour before we’re plunged into the grey-brown London autumn. What better excuse to celebrate the Indian summer than our send-off for DCB?
We’re calling it ‘the Last of the Summer Bombay Pimm’s’. Two-for-one on Bombay Pimm’s this weekend until Monday 3rd October. Bring a friend, or just treat yourself – you have two hands, after all…
And that’s not even the actual end. On our official closing date – Tuesday 4th October – we’ll be throwing a last Chowpatty party. The food will be on us (we’ll send it out of the kitchen, and you can eat it!) and we’ll be auctioning off some of Dishoom Chowpatty Beach (crazy colourful chairs, mirrors, signs) for the benefit of Plan India, which works to bring clean water to Bombay slums.
So come along, help us to send off Dishoom Chowpatty Beach and bag yourself a piece of Chowpatty Beach history.
RIP Dishoom Chowpatty Beach.
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.
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?
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.