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.
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.