If you don’t typically crave Indian food the moment you wake up, then you probably haven’t been to Dishoom for breakfast. Dishoom “from Bombay with love” pays homage to the Irani cafés that populated Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1960’s and have since diminished, much to the dismay of locals.
Bright and early on a Wednesday morning, we found ourselves at Dishoom’s newest outpost, which opened in October 2015 on Kingly Street just off Carnaby. It’s the fourth restaurant in a series founded by British Indians Shamil and Kavi Thakrar, with others based in Shoreditch, Kings Cross and Covent Garden.
Upon entering, Dishoom Carnaby revealed itself to be a delightfully nostalgic ode to 1960’s Bombay. The colourful, imaginative space seats up to 196 diners (more often than not, it’s full to the brim), and consists a long bar, ample booths and a courtyard with extra seating for 38, that opens its roof come summer. Each of Dishoom’s restaurants takes a cue from its location, and this particular outpost sees monochrome checkered terrazzo floors, Bombay Progressives art prints and a battered jukebox straight from Chor Bazaar come together courtesy of interior designer Macaulay Sinclair.
Eager to trial the signature dish, we went straight for the celebrated bacon naan roll – an unlikely but delectable marriage between a British bacon butty and Indian streetfood. The smoked streaky bacon is dry-cured for five days in rock salt and sugar, before being cold-smoked over oak chips. It’s then wrapped in naan bread with cream cheese, coriander and chilli tomato jam. The result was just spicy enough, bold in flavor and so undeniably moreish that we found ourselves wishing we had it for breakfast every day.
Aside from our pick, the menu features a range of traditional cooked breakfasts with an Indian twist, be it spicy chicken keema, masala baked beans or buttered pau buns. And that’s not to mention Dishoom’s Fire Toast – chargrilled and served with pineapple-pink-peppercorn ham and orange marmalade with star anise. Sweeter options include porridge with banana and Medjool dates, Keralan vanilla-infused yoghurt and granola with pistachios and cinnamon toasted in butter and honey.
All ingredients are carefully sourced; whether it’s the free-range eggs, the MSC-certified fish or the sausages and bacon, which come from rare-breed free-range pigs.
It’s no surprise that Dishoom often has queues around the block – breakfast reservations are undoubtably the easiest of the bunch. Evening reservations are only confirmed for six diners or more, making Dishoom the perfect place for a party.
Words by Annie Biziou – Lifestyle Editor
Photography by Dishoom / John Carey