In the past few days and weeks, coronavirus has blown our world apart. Last week already feels like a year ago, the present is unrecognisable, and the future is extremely uncertain. And the decisions we are faced with are incredibly tough.
We have arrived at a very sad, but inevitable and clear choice. As of now, all Dishooms are now closed to diners. This includes Dishoom Birmingham, where the launch (including soft launch) will be postponed. It feels like the right thing for us to do.
It goes without saying that we also need to do the best that we can for our team – their wellbeing, their livelihoods and the families they support. We have our charity commitments to honour. A finite amount of pounds in the bank, and only pennies coming in for the foreseeable future. A brand-new team of people eager to open a restaurant in Birmingham. An old restaurant in Covent Garden, half-demolished and beginning to be rebuilt. And so on.
Our big-hearted, first-class team are as devastated by this situation as we are, and we’re working really hard to do the best that we can for them.
It goes without saying that this will be incredibly challenging when our restaurants are closed and perhaps even for some time after that.
We will doubtless have even more difficult decisions to make, but right now we’re keeping everyone close, in the hope that some government support will be offered in the next day or two, to help us to help the people in our teams. (Please, Rishi, be generous.)
We are still struggling to understand a world with no restaurants in it. The industry that we’ve proudly been a part of for the past decade will likely be permanently changed. Most of our friends and neighbours have already closed, and we hope and pray that they will make it to the other side of this severe storm.
We'll be there too, on the other side, welcoming you back with very big smiles, pots of chai and enormous warmth. It's going to take some doing and a fair wind behind us, but we'll be there, firing up the stoves, opening up the doors and waiting for you.
Until then, we sincerely wish you and your loved ones the best health and as much happiness as you can muster for the months ahead. Please look after one another. We really do miss you already, and we can’t wait to see you on the other side.
With much love to you all
Shamil, Kavi and the whole Dishoom team
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.