Dishoom – Kensington, London | September 2021
Modelled on Mumbai’s famous Iranian-style cafes, Dishoom offers diners a unique experience that harks back to India’s post-colonial era – yet is unlike any ‘Indian restaurant’ you’ve visited before.
Image credit: John Carey
Nestled just off the main stretch of the high street, Dishoom Kensington’s renowned high energy setting is almost unassuming from a distance, except during busy periods when the queue spills into the street. Once you enter, though, you’ll see why so many people are more than happy to wait.
There are few spaces in the capital – especially small chains – which go to such lengths to define their aesthetic. From its beautiful teak wooden etchings and bright brass sign plates to extravagant Gatsby-esque chandeliers, this is colonial architecture at its best. Add burnt orange and turquoise banquettes to its rich, neutral backdrop, and the decor perfectly sets the scene for the menu to come.
Dishoom spoils for choice with its breakfast menu, which comprises freshly baked naan rolls, a hearty selection of fruits, grains and breads, and dishes which effortlessly blend Parsi and English flavours.
After much deliberation, we opted for the Parsi omelette and the Big Bombay – similar to a full English, but with a healthy dose of Indian influence to prevent it from feeling too familiar.
Well, the Big Bombay is large indeed, featuring fantastically tangy masala beans, akuri eggs, brioche buns and spiced sausages – pretty much everything you would expect from its British counterpart, yet with even more flavour.
The Parsi omelette was a much lighter option, yet equally as satisfying, with the soft addition of coriander just enough to lend the dish fragrant flavour without being too “soapy”. On the plate is also Dishoom’s Fire Toast, which has been chargrilled to perfection, then served up with abundant butter, pineapple chutney and Dishoom’s orange marmalade, whose rich flavour has been boosted with a pinch of star anise.
The grapefruit juice I ordered to wash it all down was sharp and refreshing, while my partner’s breakfast lassi offered a stunningly creamy concoction of yoghurt, banana, mango and oats.
Of course, no visit to Dishoom is complete without a tasting of its famed House Chai (£3.20), which we found to be true to its description – a combination of all things comforting – and muddled into a tumbler glass.
“There are few spaces in the capital – especially small chains – which go to such lengths to define their aesthetic.”
When it comes to dining at Dishoom, you can forget anything you think you know about Indian dining. During weekend mornings, you’ll find families, couples and tourists filling the place – all seeking an experience in one of London’s most-loved establishments. At night from Wednesday to Friday, the suits and socialites come out to enjoy the Indian dishes all set against a backdrop of live jazz.
And it won’t cost you an arm and a leg for the pleasure. Our meal cost £34, including the tip, which is significantly less than we’ve spent in Brighton in recent months. What’s more, Dishoom pledge to donate a meal to a child in need for each meal bought at its branches, with children in both the UK and India benefitting.
Delicious brunch, boundless photo opportunities, and a donation to charity before 11am – and on a Sunday? Count us in.
Image credit: John Carey
Editor, Brunches of Brighton
Nammie is the editor and creator of Brunches of Brighton, which launched with a collection of reviews in 2018. As a freelancer in journalism and communications, she covers everything from breaking news stories to writing web content for exciting start ups, having worked with the Sunday Times, Culture Trip, Escape the City, and more.
Outside of the 9–5, you’ll find her putting her all into a spin class, cooking up a treat or planning her next out-of-town adventure – when she’s not checking out the latest brunch spot, of course.