Living in Bradford has meant that over the years I have eaten many Asian dishes, so it was with an informed palate and curious interest that I visited Dishoom in Birmingham city centre.
Situated alongside the Town Hall in Chamberlain Square, the large and airy restaurant is furnished in dark browns with the addition of a few green palms, and ceiling fans above your head whirl away. You could almost be back in Mumbai if you close your eyes as the smell of fresh cooking wafts its way across the restaurant from the open kitchen. The warm welcome we received contrasted with the cold January weather outside. Dishoom say that all their restaurants pay homage to the Irani cafés and the food of all Bombay which I think they have successfully achieved.
Tastes of Bombay
The food is served as it comes, as was explained to us by our server. I was surprised that he did not write down our copious requests of dishes, thinking that he might forget an item. He nearly passed with flying colours until he forgot my raspberry soda (£4.90). There are small plates, grills, biryani, Ruby Murray dishes, and bread and rice additions, including vegetable side dishes amongst others to choose from.
We started with a selection of small plates: vegetable samosas (£5.90) which were encased in crunchy Punjabi-style shortcrust pastry with pea and potato filling warmly spiced with cinnamon. Being used to the flakier ones, the pastry came as a bit of a surprise, a good one though. The Dishoom House Chaat (£7.90) served warm-cold was exceedingly sweet and tangy whilst the Pau Bhaji (£6.90) was the best out of the three starters.
My partner and I shared two plates of the Dishoom Chicken Tikka (£11.90). The first serving was not cooked enough to our liking, the second one more than made up for our earlier dislike. Using a marinade of sweet vinegar and laced with ginger, turmeric, garlic, and green chilli the flavours combined in fine style.
The Cheese Naan (£5.20) was a delightful surprise where the west country cheddar met in harmony where west meets east. Tangy full flavour cheese encased in a soft naan.
Puddings include our choice of Basmati Kheer (£7.90) ‒ a silky caramelised basmati rice pudding cooked nicely with vanilla-infused coconut milk, cardamon and cashews, all topped with blueberry compote. A sweet taste that contrasted with the earlier hot and spicy food.
The Dishoom Chocolate Pudding (£8.90) came with a melt-in-the-middle chocolate filling served with a scoop of Kashmiri Chilli ice cream ‒ a dish that you will certainly not want to share!
You might find the alcoholic drinks quite expensive, especially if you are a wine drinker ‒ the cheapest bottle is a Sicilian white wine that costs £27.00 a bottle with a small glass being £7.50. Other bottles of wine start at £35.00 upwards. Better to stick with the tap water, which I always think is the best drink to go with hot and spicy food. Note that there is an optional 12.5% service charge added to your bill.
If you want good food, atmospheric surroundings, and a cut above the rest for quality Dishoom is the perfect choice.
(Prices were correct at the time of writing.)