Friday, 20 August 2010


A rather fine food blogger told me recently that he would weep if he saw another review of Dishoom, Sushi Ga Ga or Goldfish City. Well, I too wept like a baby with the overabundance of Bar Boulud postings (which incidentally I haven’t been and nor do I intend to. This is simply because of the over-praising of the charcuterie platter and the DBGB burger that might incite the insidious prejudices I may harbour and thus write about.) As for this post, I could but only drum up two lame excuses for doing so. Dishoom is directly opposite my daughter’s fave memorabilia store and me blog is beginning to look dormant.

Dishoom is in three+ words; refreshing, good (certainly not brill), and not cheap. When we visited the place it had already garnered enough potential and repute with the congruous amount of YBAs (Young Brithish Asians) seen lunching. The modernity of the interiors made it hard for me to appreciate or perhaps realise the ‘faded elegance’ of the original Bombay cafés that Dishoom is supposedly modelled on but that said, the service was entirely excellent. The menu is one of those that are created to deceive and entice both the brain and palate. A little of what you fancy, and this, and that, and before long you find yourself settling the bill with plastic because you thought a 20 quid note would suffice for a ‘café’ meal. This is the unfortunate curse that’s part and parcel with joints that offer small plates or tapas!

What we had-

Dishoom Calamari
As promised on the menu, it was indeed zesty and spicy. The squids were beautifully cooked.

Roomali Roll of Malai Chicken

A wrap by any other name consisting of mildly spiced chicken, herbs, rabbit fodder and chutney. Daughter thought it was overridden with herbs (coriander she meant) and I agreed. If you want an Indian inspired wrap, then Mooli’s is truly indicative.

Desi Fish Fingers

Was kinda expecting Birds Eye Fish Fingers with a bit of twist. Alas, not so, breadcrumbs where art thou? True the fish were cooked to perfection but the overgenerous amounts of chilli powder in the batter made it impossible to identify whether it was cod, haddock or pollock. I suppose it can only be good news for the latter as it can no longer be classified as cat food at Dishoom.

Bombay Sausages

Slices of tiny chipolatas in Bombay masala. Now if any nation wish to modify our venerable banger then as far as I know only the Thais have done it well, see here . Unfulfilling. The dish would’ve been better if they served the chipolatas whole, but then again this would mean the curtailing of operating margins for the restaurant. However, the masala bit was redeeming; delicious and moreish.

House black daal
Posh tarka dhal to the chicken tikka masala praiseworthies. Daughter suggested it was a Marmite dip, I thought it was the best dish served at Dishoom. It was so perfect you could drink it (albeit without burning yourself) instead of eating it. Yum. This is one of the reasons apart form the service I’ll revisit Dishoom.

Three small plates, one wrap, a veg side (dhal is classed as so in 90% of Indian menus in Britain) and two bottles of sparkling filtered Thames; Dishoom is hardly cheap. But I would go back to sample the grills, biryanis and a bit of booze. Credit cards need apply here.

St Martin's Courtyard
12 Upper St Martin's Lane
Covent Garden

London, WC2H


Anonymous said...

Was the romali roti lots of tissue thin layers of bread? If so it's authentic and v hard to find outside India (I never have)? That would be reason to go.

bellaphon said...

Anon- the foodie OCD in me counted two layers, thank you! If I'd mentioned it, it would mean a kitchen cock-up instead!

Kake said...

Bellaphon lives!

Fishfingers are not fishfingers without breadcrumbs.

Along your sidetrack, I have actively been hunting for reviews of Goldfish City! Because I cannot find anyone who wrote about it who actually paid for their meal. If your friend can point me to anyone I would be v. grateful...

Noel bell said...

see my review, I thought it was cheap and I am a tight arse :-)

Mr Noodles said...

Are those tears on my keyboard? Still not been here yet although it sometimes feels like that I have! In fairness to Dishoom, bloggers have actually paid to eat there. I don't really want to get into the whole PR freebie debate but a spate of reviews by paying customers is preferable to one where people are writing about freebies.

Good to see you back on the blog - it's been too long!

Mr Noodles said...

Oh and those calamari look and sound fantastic.

Hollow Legs said...

Your fine food blogger must follow a whole lot more blogs than the 150 I read, as I only saw 2 or 3 reviews of Sushi Ga Ga. Hardly enough to make me dissolve into tears.

I like Dishoom, but that roomali roti looks a bit too much like a pret wrap for my liking.

thora said...

Good to see you again. The dhal looks fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the foodblogger in question, but I saw 8 reviews of Sushi Ga Ga, half of which were invite-to-review.

As a consumer (rather than producer) of restaurant blogs, I don't think eight reviews of one place is excessive per se, but I would find them more useful if they were more spread out in time, rather than all clustered in the couple of months after the place first opened. I enjoy reading fresh reviews of places that have been open for a while, since the atmosphere/quality/etc in a restaurant that's only just opened can be very different from that six months or so later.

Gastrogeek said...

I'm sorry to say this place just didn't do it for me. I went with a vegetarian friend and the biryani was dry, the veg curry slop-like and the dahl bland. It was expensive and we could have had so much better at any number of places in southall. Shame.

Krista said...

Firstly, I LOVED the calamari too. (Disclaimer: I work with the wife of one of the owner's.)

Secondly, I'm with Lizzie. I read a gazillion London blogs. I saw a few Sushi Ga Ga reviews (and indeed was invited to review as well and declined), but I can only remember Gourmet Chick writing about Goldfish City. (See the results of my London Restaurant Blog widget search here: So who's your dude? Because he must be reading something I'm not.

Re: Dishoom, I'm fairly certain everyone paid. (This is not the focus of your article, but when you lump them in with Sushi Ga Ga, I just think it's fair to mention.) They did comp my drinks because I know them, however.

Anyhow--this is all besides the point. I blog what I want to blog when I want to blog it. If I want to go to a place like Bar Boloud, I will go there. Even if every single other blogger in London has been there before me in the last eight days. And if that makes it seem like I'm on some gravy train, well then, that's perception. Not reality. I don't sit around thinking, "Oh jeez, four other blogs just wrote about this. Maybe I should hold off or something." Who has that much time?


P.S. It's the jetlag talking.