I must have looked like an idiot as I walked through Dishoom's second branch at Shoreditch. Shuffling through the restaurant like a child in awe, I was immediate struck by how much effort was put in setting up the interior of Dishoom.
It must have looked every inch like a Bombay cafe. Since I've not had the chance to visit India, I couldn't have known, could I? But at that point in time, while staring at the elaborate yet unassuming ornaments and props - photos, posters, mosaics and half tarnished mirrors, that was what I very much wanted to believe.
Already the new Dishoom is very much in demand. The chilly winds rendered the large outdoor space almost unusable; the large booths within were reserved when we dropped by for brunch over the weekend. "Would you be here for long?" the hostess whispered conspiratorially as she did a quick scan of the area, "I might be able to squeeze a table for you." With that, she beckoned us to a booth table.
As I plumped myself down onto the firm cushion, it dawned to me how much larger the new place is compared to the flagship Dishoom at Seven Dials. With the kitchen tucked into the basement (no more live naan flipping) and an expanded bar counter where chai are churned out alongside cocktails, more seating spaces are made available on the ground floor. That's not even taking in the outdoor dining area.
When my Bombay omelette (£5.90) arrived, I couldn't decide whether the omelette or the dish it was served on was prettier. Mixed with bits of tomato, onions, coriander and green chilli, the Dishoom's omelette tasted as good as it looked. Topped that with grilled tomatoes still attached to their vines, you have a burst of flavours that is seldom associated with mere butter, milk and egg mix.
The egg naan roll (£3.50) didn't look like much. Thin naan wraps held together by cream cheese and a sprinkle of herbs. There were of course the eggs, which runny yolks oozed out as you cut through the naan. Oddly satisfying but unless you are a nibbler, the two pieces won't last long.
Breakfast at Dishoom is all about the simple pleasures in life. A naan roll or an omelette is not likely to leave you bloated. There is a weak attempt to do an equivalent of the full English (Dishoom calls it the Full Bombay) with bacon and Cumberland sausages for the unrepentant amongst us. But having a bun Maska dipped in spicy chai feels just right at this Bombay cafe in London.
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