Imagine a summer afternoon, unusually sunny; hot, humid and expectant, like Bombay just before the monsoon. The kind of day that might make Londoners stop in their tracks, stare for a minute at the surprising blue of the sky, and clock out of work.
Outside Dishoom Shoreditch, on the Verandah, the serious business of lounging is in progress. People spill out from the shadows, and laze gratefully in the sunlight. Ice cubes clink inside crystal tumblers. Sunlight warms the brocade fabrics and carved wood of the heavy antique furniture. Shelves – filled with well-thumbed books – sit beside faded old photographs. A thin coil of sandalwood smoke rises from gently burning incense, and scratchy old jazz (Taj Mahal Foxtrot, anyone?) floats out of a 78 playing on the old gramophone. A light breeze ruffles the pages of the Times of India on the sideboard. The armchair creaks as someone settles further into its inviting bulk, sighing with contentment.
Ties are loosened, layers sloughed off. The scent of mint from a freshly-mixed Julep lingers in the air. A waitress refills glasses of Chai from a large battered teapot. Tempting snacks are ordered and passed around, shared, enjoyed; hungry fingers sneak the last pieces of Okra and Skate Cheeks from their bowls.
The chatter of voices and gentle laughter carries onto Boundary Street, and sparks the interest of passers-by. These are the pleasant signs of friends and colleagues at leisure, enjoying an afternoon out on the Verandah. Perhaps they’re even bunking off, absconding from their screens, getting slowly, happily blotto.
Sadly, it wouldn’t be very sensible to have an entirely outdoor Verandah. This is London, not Bombay. Little monsoons occur daily.
So we invite you to join us at our lovely, new, indoor-outdoor Verandah at Dishoom Shoreditch. Pleasantly cozy, covered and warmed when the weather is inclement, but not when it’s hot.
On any day of the week, breakfast on the Verandah is relaxed, with Bacon Naans, fresh fruit, and eggs served several ways – Omelettes, Akuri or fried sunny-side-up in a naan – accompanied by strong Monsooned Malabar coffee, or endless refills of our very good House Chai.
At lunch, different persons may rub shoulders – friends eating, creatives creating, ladies lunching and workers giving up their desks for an armchair (complete with ChaiFi).
Afternoons are the perfect time to take tea, perhaps accompanied by one or two small plates, or biscuits from the bakery.
And as evening falls, Sundowners – that great Bombay tradition – are served. A Gin Fizz, Madame? Or maybe you’d rather a Julep? Perhaps a Viceroy’s Old Fashioned for you, Sir. It’s a Bombay Pimm’s for me, I think.
So – we very much hope you’ll come and indulge in a little relaxed Bombay lounging with us on the indoor-outdoor Verandah, for whatever the occasion might be, and with no heed whatsoever paid to the weather.
Whether you show fondness with acts of service or with suitably thoughtful gifts, the Dishoom Store is brimful of curiosities sure to impress loved ones this Valentine’s day. Do read on for our handy gift guide below and find an ample array of gifts from make-at-home café classics to calming home fragrance. The Home Feast will soon be making its departure from the Dishoom store, (so while you still can) delight in generous servings of our most-loved dishes, to be cooked at home.
“Who wants to see some magic?” Chef Arun calls out. He flings the rolled out dough into the air, sending it soaring above the counter. It spins and twists, a graceful dancer in the air. The children watch its arc, their eyes wide with wonder, until it lands gently back in the chef's hands. The children shriek in delight.
The phone keeps ringing shrilly through the flat. Nauzer holds his head in his hands, palms clamped over his ears. “Beta, the phone!” He forgot his mother would still be here. He can’t have her answering in case it is Devia. He runs into the corridor to pick it up. It stops just before he can reach it. Breathless, he looks up and sees his mother in the kitchen.
Tucked away in a lovely corner of Wood Wharf, Dishoom Canary Wharf is now officially open and ready to welcome you all. The marble-top bar is ready to hold your drink, the textured, patterned (and extremely comforting) chairs are waiting to be kept warm and the hand-painted mural and carefully curated art – from Bombay and beyond – are waiting to be part of your conversations.