Friday Food: Dishoom by Sabrina
For the longest time, I wasn’t a fan of Dishoom. I first visited about 3 years ago with a friend who was vegetarian, and our order of vegetable biryani and their house black daal was a poor imitation of what I was used to having at home. Ever since then I steered clear of Dishoom, until a few months ago when I revisited with family, and had a great experience.
So recently when meeting up with an old friend I suggested we visit Dishoom. We steered clear of the busy Soho and Covent Garden branches and opted for the Kensington one.
One thing I have noted from my Dishoom visits, is that the staff are lovely. Although it isn’t a premium restaurant as such, the staff are attentive and welcoming. In the evening when the lines are long they hand out free chai, as the restaurant doesn’t accept reservations for groups 6 and over after 5.45pm (dinner time).
Chilli Cheese Toast / £3.70I’d heard a lot about this dish, so was looking forward to trying it. The chilli isn’t overpowering, although the dish is prettttty cheesy. If you aren’t a mad cheese lover you may think this is too much, but I did like it. The bread was tasty and not soggy. It was also a generous portion for the price.
Prawn Koliwada / £6.50
We ordered prawns as our starter because we had both chicken and mutton in our mains. I thought the spice overpowered the actual flavour of the dish, and the accompanying mint chutney (which was actually really nice on its own), didn’t do too much to enhance the flavours of the prawns, as the chilli was the dominant flavour. My friend said it was her favourite dish, because it was snacky, and I do agree with her there. Although I wasn’t overwhelmed by the flavours by the prawns, it wasn’t heavy in any way, and it was one of the only dishes we actually fully finished.
Paneer Tikka / £8.20The paneer itself was amazingly soft and had a great taste to it, but the flavour of the marinade really let it down. It was almost as though there was no real taste to it.
Mutton Pepper Fry / £12.50 (full plate / £17.50)
The mutton is available in a half plate or full plate option. Both come with an accompanying paratha. The mutton was boneless and very soft, but had a smoky texture to it as a result of the pepper in it. I prefer a more subtle flavour when it comes to red meat, so didn’t think the smoky flavour worked with the dish.
Chicken Ruby / £10.90
Hands down my favourite dish. I enjoy experimenting with new dishes but you can never beat a classic. It’s a no frills chicken curry that comes with 4 generous sized chicken pieces in an amazing tomato based sauce. I honestly think I will keep going back for this alone.
Plain Naan / £3.20 Naan is an ESSENTIAL element of any Indian/Pakistani food. The plain naan comes cut in half, with the option of having it buttered or not. I think for the price you are paying they’re pretty small, especially as you would pay less in an authentic Indian/Pakistani restaurant for something bigger. Parts of the naan were crispy (which I personally think is a bit of a waste considering it is so small to begin with) but it did taste good, and went really well with the Chicken Ruby.
I need to remind myself that Dishoom isn’t just an Indian restaurant. They also take inspiration from Iranian cuisine, which explains some of the more subtle flavours. I have a very stubborn palette when it comes to how I think Pakistani food should taste, and Dishoom jusstttt missed the quota with certain dishes. I think it was more me and the fact that my taste buds aren’t accustomed to this type of food, as opposed to a fault in the food itself.
Will I return? Probably. Unusally, there was more than one thing on the menu that looked appealing to me. I guess I just need to make my way round the menu until I find my favourite dishes. If you’re looking for something a little different to your standard Indian/Pakistani grill houses in central London, Dishoom is a good bet. It has a friendly atmosphere with attentive service, and enough options on the menu for it to not get boring.
Location / / High Street Kensington (although they have branches in Covent Garden, Carnaby, Kings Cross and Shoreditch)
Closest Station / / High Street Kensington
Halal / / Yes, all chicken and lamb is halal