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
As a thirteen year old boy in Delhi with endless energy and appetite, I treasured Sunday mornings. I’d wake up early, jump on my rickety Hero Cycle bicycle and hurriedly pedal five miles to a park close to Shantivan and Raj Ghat. There, me and my friends would set-up makeshift stick stumps and play cricket for hours… or until our minds and bellies turned (inevitably) to food.
The festival of Eid al-Fitr (literally “the Celebration of the Breaking of the Fast”) marks the conclusion of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month where restraint and discipline must be practised.
In India, mealtimes are very much a family affair and everything is shared which makes these cheese-and-pastry twirls perfect for making together this half-term. They’re incredibly easy to make, which make them just right for keeping little hands happily occupied during the holidays.
The culmination of Ramadan will bring with it Chand Raat (the night of the moon), an evening of great excitement and unity. It’s the eventide or moment the first crescent moon of the month is observed, which marks the end of the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, a period of fasting, prayer and reflection, and the start of Eid, the beginning of great festivities.