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 have arrived at a very sad, but inevitable and clear choice. As of now, all Dishooms are now closed to diners.
Crisp and organised, Roda Irani leads her daughter through the narrow gullies of Swadeshi Market. “Come, let us get to the café.”
Its 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 makes it all worthwhile.
Under a canopy of stars and lights, we welcomed our biggest-ever line-up of exceptional South Asian talent to Dinerama for our Diwali celebrations.
Coronavirus has blown our world apart, and all Dishooms are currently closed. It feels like the right thing for us to do.
While the restaurants are closed, we offer solace in our cookery book, which is most certainly still available to order. May it bring Dishoom, joy and plenty of Daal to your home. From all of us, with love.