The inspiration behind Dishoom for co-founders Kavi and Shamil Thakrar, were the Iranian cafes in Bombay, opened by immigrants in the early 20th century; as outsiders themselves, they welcomed everyone – no matter what caste, class or creed.
The spacious upstairs Salon overlooking St. Andrew Square is authentically furnished in Art Deco period style, with antique dressers, chandeliers, mirrors, fans and faded photographs. The artistic theme draws together Indian heritage with the life and work of Patrick Geddes, the Edinburgh scientist and town planner, a frequent traveller to Bombay.
The dining room, divided with glass screens, has window tables with bentwood chairs, as well as green leather banquettes, reminiscent of a railway carriage. Open from breakfast to late night cocktails, the atmosphere is vibrant and buzzing …..perhaps just like the Iranian cafes.
"From Bombay with Love" - authentic design, vintage furnishings and a feast of seriously good food
Reviewed by Vivien Devlin
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 4:34pm
The name Dishoom is derived from the old Bollywood movies - the sound when a bullet flies through the air, or a punch like the old pow or bam in cartoons like Superman and Batman.
Ken and I visited for a late breakfast (served from 8am to 11.45am) and proving very popular with its own extensive menu featuring some of the hearty dishes served to Parsi bodybuilders who ate several eggs a day to preserve their muscular physique. To start, a platter of fresh fruit (mango, melon, berries) with vanilla yogurt – so fresh and healthy, while Ken chose an equally nutritious (and huge) bowl of Porridge, Indian style, with banana and sweet dates.
In true Brunch style, I sip a very spicy Bloody Mary while across the table my companion enjoys the Dhoble, a breakfast cocktail named after the Asst commissioner of Police in Bombay, Vasant Dhoble: Columbo gin, orange juice, maraschino liqueur and lemon poured over crushed ice. Our starters and drinks alone, with tomato, cherries and citrus fruit, are giving us most of our 5 a day. Enjoy a sparkling glass of Champagne too or there’s a range of fruit juices.
On to main courses: For me, the Bombay Omelette, with three eggs, and filled with tomatoes, onion, green chilli and coriander which gives a real spicy kick. Served with Fire Toast – thick slabs of white bloomer bread which has been char-grilled for a smoky flavour. Side Dishes are very tempting so we choose Masasla Beans & Grilled Mushrooms as well as Sali crisp chips to share. Ken meanwhile is tucking into his huge plate of Kerjiwal, two fried eggs on top of chilli cheese toast, which was a classic dish served at The Willingdon Club in Bombay, very much part of the British Raj, which admitted local residents.
Masala beans are not just your usual tin of Heinz. These beans are blended with red onion, root ginger, green chillies and garlic for a rich sauce which accompanies and enhances our egg dishes perfectly. Chunky mushrooms too but the Crisp chips are not really chips at all but as if from a packet of thin straw “potato crisps”. Perhaps the chefs could find a classic Indian recipe to serve as a side order like hash browns or garlic potatoes. This was indeed a power breakfast to set us up for the day with such delicious, freshly prepared spicy dishes.
The Dishoom Breakfast menu also offers Naan Rolls – with freshly hand made Naan bread baked in the Tandoori oven, filled with cream cheese, chilli jam and herbs, to which add your choice of bacon, egg or sausage. Akuri, three scrambled eggs served with tomato and a toasted Pau Bun – these buttered buns are the absolute Irani café essential, dipped in your cup of Chai.
This is a spiced milk tea that has become increasingly popular throughout the world. It is generally made up of rich black tea, creamy milk, various spices (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper). and sugar. Not quite your mug of PG Tips! Other drinks include Chocolate Chai, Green Darjeeling tea, and Malabar Coffee made from Arabica beans from Karnataka, roasted on wood amidst the Monsoon winds.
Enjoying our leisurely meal until about 1pn, the restaurant was quickly filling up with the busy lunchtime trade… there was hardly a seat left free. If the morning menu is extensive, wait till you see the Bombay Banquet on offer from midday to late night.
Check out the fantastic, vintage styled bar, The Permit Room, for drinks and snacks (5pm – 3am), named after the personal pass required during the Prohibition era to allow drinkers to be allowed alcoholic beverages for the goodness of their health. I’ll drink to that - A votre Sante!
Dishoom in Edinburgh has been a sure fired hit since it opened in November 2016 with rave reviews galore.
“Best Indian meal we've ever had. Super bar and cool restaurant. Reasonably priced especially for a city. Excellent service with attentive waiters. Would definitely return!”
“The food was absolutely incredible. Beautiful curries and grilled meat, the naan and roti were some of the best I've ever eaten - and the cocktails are amazing too.”
There was a buzzing atmosphere and every table occupied. Good sign. The food and service is really what makes this place special. I ordered a couple of their titled 'signature' dishes - black lentils and ruby chicken. Amazing. Highly recommended to anyone who likes Indian food. My new fave place to eat in Edinburgh!