Goodbye Chowpatty Beach

Dishoom Chowpatty Beach

‘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.

Click here for a nostalgic gallery of photos…

Chowpatty gallery
Read the café stories

Suggested Reading

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Thoughts from Rachael Anderson, Head of Schools at Magic Breakfast

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.

Children sit cross legged at school

10 million meals for children

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. 

Dishoom Uttapam Stack Recipe

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.

How to Serve the Permit Room Old-Fashioned

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.