One plus one equals two, that happens every day, that is not magic. That's the grind. That's when you get up, one. Go to work, one. Go to bed, two. But when one plus one equals three, that's when you see everything new, when you are visited by visions. It is the essential equation of love. It's the essential equation of art. It's the essential equation of rock 'n' roll. It's the reason the universe will never be fully comprehensible.
– Bruce Springsteen
It's not often you get the chance to make 1 + 1 = 3, but if you ever do – you should grab it with both hands. Because these are the moments you will remember, the ones you will cherish, the ones that make it all worthwhile.
We first approached Shamil and Kavi, incidentally two of our (and London’s) food heroes, in 2017 with the idea of a collaboration. Our Shoreditch branch is over the road from Babu House, so we often have the pleasure of seeing some of their team having a cheeky pizza on their lunch break. It's always been really clear to me that like us, Dishoom massively cares about welcoming all comers with open arms, and putting their heart and soul into everything that they do – from the food they serve, to the drinks they pour and the welcome of their team. Put simply, love is at the heart of what we do – it's an essential ingredient – and we wanted to find a way to celebrate that.
Needless to say, over the past two years, there have been plenty of discussions, testings, debates and yet more testing. And we were, for lack of a better couplet, ‘dead chuffed’ when we finally got to a place where we all felt we had something special. Thus... the Bacon & Egg Naan Pizza was born. And oh is it a prized dish! Clarence Court eggs and bacon from top-notch butcher, Ramsey of Carluke, atop a base of tomato sauce and cream cheese, a lick of Dishoom chilli tomato jam and a sprinkling of fresh coriander and green chilli.
Whilst on first inspection Indian and Italian cuisines seem a world apart – scratch the surface and you quickly see this isn’t the case. Both have strong regional variations in their cuisine, both rely heavily on chilli and tomatoes in their dishes, both have a strong matriarchal presence in their kitchen culture, and food is a huge part of bringing people together in both cultures. Ultimately, that was our aim in collaborating with Dishoom – to bring people together over delicious food and drink.
This was a great project to work on! A labour of love (and pizza). I have often dreamed of Dishoom’s Bacon & Egg Naan come dinner time – so I was super pumped to finally make that dream a (sort of) reality as we've made the iconic dish available for the whole day for the first time!
Needless to say the reaction has been phenomenal – and people have travelled far and wide to taste the pizza. The team have been massively energised in coming together to make sure every single one is delivered with love – alongside the more traditional Neapolitan options on our menu.
And most importantly – it is all for an amazing cause. For every pizza sold, we will donate two “Magic Breakfasts” to hungry or disadvantaged children across the UK – one from Dishoom and one from Pizza Pilgrims. Magic Breakfast is a truly brilliant charity – their aim is to end hunger as a barrier to education by providing free, nutritious school breakfasts to hungry children – and we couldn’t be prouder or more humbled to contribute to this, albeit it through a slightly barmy pizza/naan mash-up!
So, if that is not 1+1=3, I don’t know what is.
Thanks so much to everyone at Dishoom for letting our little idea become a reality.
Pizza & Love!
The Dishoom Bacon and Egg Naan Pizza was available from 21st October until 17th November. And we're absolutely delighted to share that in total, we donated 10,000 'Magic Breakfasts' – one from us, and one from Pizza Pilgrims – to hungry children across the UK. We're blown away by this. Enormous thank you to all guests that made this possible (by eating our somewhat barmy creation) and extra special thanks to Pizza Pilgrims for hosting such a barmy idea!
IT HAS BEEN an annual December habit of mine, these past ten years since we embarked upon this restaurant business, to sit alone, with myself, and reflect on the year gone by. I am grateful to be here in the Permit Room in our restaurant in Shoreditch scribbling and writing, the oddly enjoyable taste of splintering wood from my chewed up pencil smoothed by my decently strong drink.
These are the last few days, the dregs of 2019. It’s my habit to sit here in the Permit Room at this time. I am the be-stubbled and dishevelled regular, cherishing his precious drink at the end of the bar. Weary, I sit here pondering the year, attempting to figure out what it was trying to teach me. What wisdom can I glean from it?
I love to truly understand and appreciate the origins of a dish, and learn how communities have adapted a recipe over time to make that dish unique to them.
We have arrived at a very sad, but inevitable and clear choice. As of now, all Dishooms are now closed to diners.