“Good things come to those who wait”… Well, we’ve all got pretty good at waiting lately, having spent twelve weeks waiting for everything from a pair of Primark socks to the end of the football season but finally, our bars and restaurants are back. The new Dishoom is long awaited around these parts, after the bizarre events of 2020 delayed it from its originally planned opening in April. However, happy days, its now finally doing its soft launch until officially opening on 6th August and if you need a reason to brush out your bird’s nest and get out of your sweatpants, this is it.
Dishoom have restaurants in London, Manchester and Edinburgh and now a brand-new Birmingham addition on Chamberlain Square. I’ve heard good things about them but never had the opportunity to go so I couldn’t wait to try it now its local. Dishooms restaurants all pay homage to the Irani cafes of Bombay bringing authentic food, décor and atmosphere and each restaurant has its own fictional story. The Birmingham restaurants story of market trader’s daughter Roda Irani finding her voice is reflected in the style and décor of the restaurant.
The soft launch started last week and took insta by storm with rave reviews and amazing looking food pics popping up all over the place. During the soft launch food is 50% off so you didn’t have to ask me twice to go and see what its all about. Disorganised as ever, we hadn’t booked a table but thought we would rock up anyway as we weren’t in a rush and didn’t mind waiting. There was a bit of a queue outside, but someone came and took our details and we were only actually waiting around ten minutes. There weren’t any available tables inside, but we were offered one on the huge, lovely outdoor terrace, the sun was out and I would have preferred to sit there anyway. If like me, you're a people watcher you will love it.
So, the all-important COVID safety… The restaurant is quite big and there is plenty of space between the tables. It is table service so people moving around is at a minimum, there are hand sanitising stations inside and hand sanitiser was bought to our table outside. The staff were all in masks and menus single use. I definitely felt like it was a safe place to be.
On the menu, there’s so much choice of small plates, grills, curries and sides that it was hard to choose. I’m okay with spicy food to a degree but didn’t want anything that was going to set my mouth on fire, so I asked our waitress who was friendly, knowledgeable and happy to give recommendations. We decided to order a few different things to try and share. We had small plates of lamb samosas which were light, decent amount of filling, non-greasy and tasted great and chilli chicken, crispy, sticky chicken bites which were just amazing.
I’m a huge fan of prawns so went for the masala prawns which were huge, not too spicy, cooked to absolute perfection and definitely a new favourite. Hubby had the spicy lamb chops (obviously I made him cut me a bit off) which was marinated in spices, garlic and ginger and was cooked absolutely perfectly, just so delicious and juicy. We had a side of rice to share, it was quite a big portion so it was enough and a cheese naan which was soft and gooey and full of cheese in the middle.
I decided to stay on the soft drinks (because you know, heavy weekend) so tried the passionfruit sharbat which was really fruity and refreshing and our waitress recommended the rose and cardamom lassi which was like nothing I have ever tasted before, delicious and great for cooling spicy food. They have a full cocktail menu which I will definitely be trying on my next visit, as well as the hoppy butter paanch which I’m now low-key kicking myself that I didn’t try but never mind, I have a feeling I’ll be a regular.
When our waitress offered us the dessert menu, truth be told, I was full. But you know… it’s a day out isn’t it? So obviously I decided I’d make room. I had the Memsahibs mess which was like eaton mess but with a Bombay twist, I love meringue and strawberries so it was my perfect dessert. Hubby went for the Dishoom chocolate pudding with cinnamon ice cream, obviously my spoon was straight in there and oh my god… melting in the middle chocolate heaven.
During the soft launch Dishoom are offering 50% off food while they make sure staff are fully trained and iron out any teething problems of opening a brand-new restaurant. Before I went I honestly wasn’t expecting much with regards to the service but actually I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was fairly busy which didn’t phase them at all and considering the restaurant has only been in its soft launch for 9 days the staff were absolutely brilliant. Friendly, happy to chat and give recommendations, knowledgeable about the menu and you would honestly think they had worked there for years. I can’t sing the praises of the staff enough considering they are all new and have had the ever changing new covid regulations unexpectedly thrown into the mix. They all had smiles on their faces and couldn't do enough for you.
I can officially say I LOVE DISHOOM... I absolutely would give Dishoom 10 out of 10 and there isn’t anything I tried that I wouldn’t recommend. Its easy to see what all the fuss is about. It really is a light at the end of the lockdown tunnel with great food, service, atmosphere and reasonable prices. I actually can’t wait to go again and Birmingham’s answer to Bombay gets a big thumbs up from me.