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Finding Indian culture in London for our World in London challenge was never going to be a problem: from the curry houses of Brick Lane to the Asian collections at London museums, India’s influence is seen throughout the capital.
But Dishoom in Covent Garden, which opened earlier this year, is different from your usual Indian restaurant. It’s based on the Bombay cafés run by Persian immigrants to India, and aims to recreate their faded elegance and all-day menu.
Managing director Robbie Bargh was inspired by a trip to India, where he enjoyed the bustling atmosphere: “I just wished I could bring a bit of that back with me.”
You won’t smell curry at Dishoom: it has the feel of a classy brasserie, but with Indian posters adorning the walls, and a menu of interesting Indian dishes.
I popped in last week for breakfast, which started with a cup of house chai, a warming blend of tea, spices and milk that takes half an hour to prepare. Next I chose the tasty fruit roomali, which consisted of fruit, mascarpone and honey wrapped in a thin roti.
You can see the roti makers at work in the open plan kitchen. They stretch and toss the dough in the same way as you would a pizza base. “It must be one of the most difficult jobs in London,” said Dishoom’s founder Shamil Thakrar.
I also tried the breakfast lassi, a yoghurt drink with banana, mango and oats – a bit like a smoothie but with added cumin to give it an Indian twist.
There are plenty of other options on the breakfast menu. If you’re feeling hungry, you can go for the full Bombay, which includes Bombay omelette, bacon, sausage, grilled tomatoes, toast and a cup of house chai.
So if you’re bored of your usual Cornflakes, toast and coffee, head to Dishoom and join the Bombay breakfast club today!
Where do you go for a taste of Indian culture in London? Let us know in the comments below.