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
The origins of chintz can be firmly – and humbly – traced back to 16th century India. The word ‘chintz’ is derived from the Hindi word ‘chint’, meaning spotted or splattered. These intricate designs and endless patterns were traditionally hand-printed using wooden blocks - kalamkari - and brilliantly coloured natural dyes.
We often find it too easy to hurtle through the days, in an attempt to outpace the bustling city – be it London or Bombay – which always seems to be running away like a steam-engine train on a rickety track. Occasionally, it does us good to pause for thought, to disembark the carriage and sit on the platform awhile.
How does one create a space where people can truly connect over food? How can a host make their guests feel relaxed, at ease, and suitably cared for? Since launching our all-new Dishoom Crockery, we have been pondering the answers to these questions even more than usual. We recently discussed them with Creative Director - and frequent dinner party hostess - Kirthanaa Naidu when we invited her to create a first-class tablescape in our Canary Wharf café.
Each year, the spring equinox – when day and night are equal length – marks a transition in earth’s relationship with the sun. This event, sacred to many cultures throughout history, today thrives as a new year celebration for hundreds of millions.
In Bombay, London, and throughout the South Asian diaspora, you’ll find many folks of the Zoroastrian faith (amongst others) celebrating this new year, or Navroz as we like to call it.