The Dishoom Battersea Story

WITH EACH NEW CAFÉ that we open, we write a story deeply rooted in Bombay history or culture. In Carnaby, the setting is Bombay’s rock scene, which flared up briefly in the 60s and 70s. In King’s Cross, the setting is a notional godown near Victoria Terminus, the struggle for Indian Independence the historical backdrop. Our story informs all aspects of the restaurant’s design. We spend months researching the Bombay of the period and combing the city for the right furniture, both vintage and new. In a way, you walk across our thresholds into our stories.

In Battersea, our story is of Choti Dishoom, a girl who lives in Bombay in 1953 and is transported to an imagined 2023, where she discovers she has superpowers. Her story – at least the beginning of it – is on the pages that follow.

I grew up reading all the comics I could get my hands on, from the Amar Chitra Kathas often from Indian railway kiosks, telling stories of Indian history and mythology, to Tintin and Asterix, to DC and Marvel comics. I still hoard most of the originals in my attic. It was inevitable that we would one day tell a story as a comic. 

Our stories (perhaps like immigrants) are rooted twice; once in Bombay and once in the locale of the restaurant. Battersea has been a place where the future was imagined. The bold architecture inside the power station speaks of the dreams of a brave electric metropolis. In the meantime in newly independent Bombay, architects, town planners and writers had grand futuristic visions of their own. 

We’ve loved creating Choti Dishoom and may one day continue her story. In the meantime, she has helped us – light-heartedly – to bring past and future, Bombay and London, together for the retro-futurist design of Dishoom Battersea. 

And while you’re here, her story – at least the beginning of it – is below for you to read.

A note on the artist

Shazleen Khan is an east London-based rising star in the indie comics scene, renowned for the webcomic "BUUZA!!", a story of found family, diaspora and religion. Khan has won the prestigious Broken Frontier Award for Best Colourist and Best Webcomic. We are honoured to be collaborating with them to bring the world of Choti Dishoom to life.

Join us at our newest café

Dishoom Battersea will formally throw open its doors on 6th December. We'll mostly be a walk-in café. All are welcome (canines included), any time, no reservations needed. However, if you'd like to make a reservation, we hold a handful of tables back for groups of all sizes every day until 5.45pm. After 6pm, a small number of tables are available to be reserved by parties of six or more, at specific times. To make a reservation, kindly click here.

Read the café stories

Suggested Reading

See the journal

Dishoom Loves. Issue XVIII.

The July issue of Dishoom Loves is already here (and perky, for your eyes). Fill your mind with some of the best South Asian talent, from a 17-year-old playwright sharing her life story, to a beauty expert’s top tips and tricks. And, a doctor who writes about henna.

Permit Room Cambridge: A tribute to 1970s Bombay

Arched into the cobbled lane of Trinity Street, behind a mustard yellow door, an all-day bar-café cuts loose. Not to be confused with the buzzy bars in Dishoom cafés, this Permit Room is entirely other – a tribute to the way Bombay kicks back and cuts loose – a salute to the city’s permit rooms, beer bars and drinking holes.

Dishoom Loves. Issue XVII.

June brings the promise of sun-drenched days – or monsoons – balmy nights and a smattering of first-class cultural happenings.

Dishoom Impact Report

People, community and planet.