‘Dishoom’ is a traditional Bollywood onomatopoeic word (like ‘Kapow!’) used to express the noise of someone getting punched or slapped in an old film or comic book.
In London, Dishoom is a Shoreditch eatery inspired by Mumbai cafe culture. It is easily identified by the queue outside its doors most evenings.
Once again, from a martini perspective this good bar/restaurant loses points for its simple failure to keep its gin and glasses in the freezer.
Otherwise, however, it gets points for its evocative, eccentric decor, attentive service and excellent array of food. Martinis probably aren’t their priority, but if they wanted to hit the full 5/5 rating I would recommend that they focus on the temperature of the drink, whilst serving them with a small selection of some of their fantastic nibbles (such as their delicious battered okra). Maybe they could try out the Raitini as well.
Recycled cardboard menus, vintage posters and some other quirky features made it an interesting experience to dine there. I would normally refuse to queue for half an hour to enter a restaurant but at Dishoom they serve you warm masala chai while you wait, which is a nice touch, especially in winter.
The actual cocktail making was also very impressive. I locked eyes with a Sri Lankan inspired Arrack-based drink on the menu (the Toddy Tapper) and asked which brand of Arrack they were using. The barman didn’t know but got out the bottle for me to read the label. I didn’t recognise the brand either. It looked very modern, whereas most of the (many) bottles of Arrack I’ve drunk in my lifetime have had very old-fashioned labels.
Anyway, the barman set fire to some alcohol and fennel seeds in a glass to release the flavour before adding them to my drink. This was visually impressive as you can see from the above photograph taken by my friend. Of course, we also ordered a martini to try.
The food was tasty, the service good and fast (after the queueing at least) and the atmosphere was pleasant. I would definitely recommend giving it a try, but be sure to wear enough warm clothing to queue outside.