We’re not very sure where all the time went. We can’t even make up our minds whether it feels like an eternity or an instant.
Either way, tomorrow we’re celebrating Dishoom’s first birthday.
A person with good sense – that friend you go to for reliably sound advice – would have told you that opening a restaurant was a silly thing to do. Fraught with risk, crazy long hours, stressful business, they would observe, sagely. If you then added that you were trying to pay homage to some disappearing café culture from Bombay and that the name you were considering was Hindi onomatopoeia for the sound of a satisfying punch, they might start pitying you. Poor chaps, they would mutter under their breath.
In the end, of course, we didn’t listen to that sensible friend of ours. And we’re just really happy and grateful that we’re here on our first birthday.
We also know – as a concrete-clad fact – that the reason we’re here at the passing of the year is the talent and trust of so many. We’re extremely fortunate to have had such a number of great Dishoom-wallas to help redeem us and make it OK that we ignored our sensible friend.
The skill of our chefs. The flair of our designers. The stamina of our managers. The cheeriness of our waiters and barmen. The patience of our families. We could go on. You all have that Dishoom, that spark. In buckets. Thank you, and thank you again.
But those Dishoom-wallas who have truly redeemed us are our guests. You, who trust us with your wallets and stomachs time and again. Who enthusiastically praise us when we get it right, and who have been frank with us and allowed us to put it right when we got it wrong. Who respond to our random tweets, and make our Facebook page a happy gathering, laughing obligingly at our jokes. Who indulge us when we announce that we want to take Dishoom on a summer stroll down to Chowpatty Beach (well, to the Southbank) to drop a mild acid tab. You all breathe ultimate life into what we do, and you have our sincerest gratitude.
We’re truly humbled to be surrounded by such a big number of pukka Dishoom-wallas. We’re glad to have been of service over the last year and we’re looking forward to serving you for many more.
So here, after one year of Dishoom, it’s not really Happy Birthday to us. It’s actually Happy Birthday to you.
Thanks for everything.
(PS. Because it’s happy birthday, we’ll be buying you food and drink over the next few days – ‘like’ and watch our Facebook page for details. Starting tomorrow and Saturday morning with Breakfast naan rolls, onto a lazy Sunday with Bombay Pimm’s and a Vada Pau Monday….)
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.