We found ourselves in at a loose end in Covent Garden on Sunday, having tried to get into a 4 o’clock cinema viewing only for it to sell out, and the next one not until six. (We saw Inside Job, a rather sobering account of the global financial crisis – recommended if you’re into that kind of thing.) Luckily we were in the vicinity of all-day ‘Bombay cafe’ Dishoom, a restaurant we’d wanted to try for a while. It gets very busy in the evenings (and they don’t take bookings) but at 4.30pm it was easy to get seated.
The decor is just lovely, with vintage Bollywood posters, industrial lighting and plushy booth seating. It’s supposedly inspired by the Persian cafes in old Bombay which catered to all walks of life from construction workers to lawyers, but I’m not sure how authentic it is in that respect.
The menu is my kind of thing, a sort of Indian-tapas-but-not as the waiter put it: small dishes designed for sharing, roughly split into starters, street food, grills, special curries of the day and rice and breads. We ordered 2 dishes each, plus a starter, 2 breads and a rice to share. I wasn’t mad keen on the pau bhaji, which appeared to be served with a buttered burger bun. My bhang lassi drink had a nice spicy flavour but was difficult to drink as it was full of bits of crunchy spice mix.
Other dishes fared much better, the black daal rich with tomato and earthy spices and Josh’s lamb chops delcared almost as good as at our favourite Bombay caff, Delhi Grill. My star dish was the grilled paneer: freshly delivered by their supplier every day, it was super tasty and just the right level of charred. It perfectly complemented the daal dish. Naan was buttery and chewy and it was nice to see the chef out front cooking the roti on a large hot stone.
At £50 for two for all our dishes, drinks and coffee it’s pretty good value. I’d certainly like to go back, and would recommend it if you need a relaxed meal in Covent Garden.
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