The quest for tantalising breakfasts and brunches is one that has troubled many a Londoner year on year – quirky cereal bars are exciting until you realise you’re paying the same for a bowl as you would a box, waffles are a short-lived delight bound to not only blow the diet but also leave you in a sugar-induced coma for the rest of the day, and a full English – much like the Sunday roast – is simply never as good as when mum makes it.
It is with this in mind that I was thrilled to stumble upon the breakfast menu at Dishoom. Based on the Irani cafés in Mumbai run by Iranian immigrants, the spread of naans, bun masaka, fire toast and all manner of dishes graced with a Bombay inspired twist looked promising. Scratch that, looked absolutely mouthwatering. Since visiting, I can’t help but wonder how I had gone so long without being privy to what is quite possibly – and certainly in Time Out’s Top 10 – London’s best breakfast.
The interior at Dishoom is spacious whilst also simultaneously cosy; the cacophony of chatter and groans of delight on a Saturday morning testimony to the success of this restaurant. Mixed wood panelling, mirrors, retro style ceiling fans and faded family photos adorn the surfaces – the result is a charming homely feel, worlds away from the usual depressingly chintzy decor of most Indian restaurants.
It is always a promising start when the drinks menu is almost, if not as, tantalising as the food. Whilst the braver of you might opt for a cheeky Bloody Mary, I would urge everyone to indulge in the delight that is Chai. This intensely warming spicy blend is also satisfyingly milky smooth and quite simply puts any other London attempt at recreating masala Chai to shame. Epitomising Saturday morning bliss in a cup, ‘all who have it swear by it’. And, if warmth and spice is not quite for you, the Lassi comes in at a close second; a delicious concoction of mango, banana, yoghurt and oats; this beverage is almost a breakfast within itself.
It was the long attested, much-anticipated Bacon Naan that had really enticed me in though, and I am pleased to report that I was far from disappointed. The combination of warm handmade naan bread stuffed with cream cheese, chilli tomato jam, coriander and The Ginger Pig’s dry cured bacon was to die for. Vegetarian options are also available, as is both a selection of hearty rustic Irani breakfasts along with lighter, fresher tasting combinations such as House Granola or Fruit and Yogurt, the latter of which was the quintessential dessert course to my Saturday morning meal; fresh mango, grapes, strawberries, blueberries and honeydew melon, topped with creamy yoghurt infused with Keralan vanilla pod, and the London Honey Co’s excellent Buckinghamshire honey – after all they do say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is easy to see what makes this eatery so popular with foodies and fussy eaters alike.
I visited the St. Martin’s Lane branch, however Dishoom can also be found at King’s Cross, Shoreditch and Carnaby Street, where breakfast is served from 9am until 11:45am at the weekend and from 8am until 11:45am on weekdays . The a la carte menu available from 12pm onwards has locals and tourists alike queuing outside the doors and promises to be just as excellent as the breakfast is. I’ve just booked to spend NYE at the Covent Garden Branch for their Vintage Bombay Glam party, complete with a ten-course feast, music and dancing throughout the night!
Bring your friends, bring your loved ones, and celebrate mornings like these with all the delights of the Bombay cafe, washed down with a mango lassi and copious pots of Assam tea…
Dishoom, Covent Garden; 12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2H 9FB