Dishoom Carnaby Test Run Event

DishoomMy first blog post goes to one of my favourite restaurants in London (as well as many other Londoners judging by the queues!).

I have been eagerly anticipating the opening of the newest addition to the growing Dishoom family-Dishoom Carnaby. The newest member is located on Kingly Street in the heart of London surrounded by some of the quirkiest restaurants, shops and bars the city has to offer. Carnaby has been calling for an Indian-Iranian street food restaurant like this for a while and this will be a fantastic addition to the buzzing area. Cinnamon Soho (another Indian restaurant a few doors down from Dishoom) has big competition ahead.

My sisters and I were invited to a test run event recently before the restaurant opened. For a family of Dishoom fans, to say we were excited was an understatement! Essentially the evening involved a complimentary dining experience at the new Carnaby location.

We arrived around 7:30pm and immediately felt the excitement surrounding the event as soon as we stepped through the door. Our reservation was checked efficiently and we were shown to the bar area.

This appears to be the general system for getting a table at Dishoom now. They have incorporated waiting time at the bar to enjoy some drinks before you are seated for dinner. We waited around half an hour until our buzzer went off.

Bar:
We were provided with an extensive drinks menu which included everything from beers to lassis.  There was a vast number of unique cocktails with an Indian twist making the choice of what to have a tough one. Most of the cocktails had an interesting spin and contained ginger, lemon or cardamom for that Indian kick.

The bartenders were very friendly and looked like they were enjoying the challenge of making numerous cocktails for the test run event. They clearly knew all the drinks and ingredients well and made some delicious cocktails. The bar area was spacious enough to mingle and also had 3-4 small side tables. (Smaller bar area than Kings Cross and Shoreditch but larger than Covent Garden).

Drinks:
Thunderball : A nicely decorated cocktail with orange peel but it looks better than it tastes. The orange juice was quite heavy and sweet to have just before dinner.
Bollybellini: My favourite cocktail of the night. Light and refreshing. Not too bubbly and you can taste the raspberries and lychee fused with the Prosecco.
Edwinas affair: A gin based cocktail in a copper cup. I was disappointed that the rose, cardamom and mint were overpowered by the strong gin used but I think this has the potential to be a great drink if less alcohol was used.
Watermelon sherbet: Non-alcoholic. Yummy and refreshing.
White Wine: PASOS DE LA CAPULA VERDEJO, 2014, CASTILLA. Light, fruity and a good accompaniment to dinner.
Chai: I had this with dessert. A delicious hug in a cup and never fails to hit the spot.

Bar nibbles:
Okra fries: Delicious snack. Slightly salty but in a good way.
Vegetable samosas: Average but I’m not generally a big samosa fan apart from the pastry corners.

Decor and atmosphere: The restaurant was much larger than I expected considering most restaurants around Carnaby are often tight for space. It extends quite far back making use of the long space and there is a terrace area which will be great in summer. The bathrooms are downstairs and you can have a sneak peak of the skilled chefs cooking up a feast and making the famous rotis as you go down the stairs.

The trendy decor was in line with the classic Dishoom style seen at the other branches and it truly felt like a Bombay cafe. It was vibrant yet chilled and the layout has been planned very well. I liked the traditional Indian music which reflected the Dishoom restaurant theme and it wasn’t too loud making it easy to converse. The lighting was dim which worked well but I think it was slightly too dim for my liking.

FOOD:
Half the menu is devoted to vegetarian food so there’s lots of choice!
Starters
Pau Bhaji – This will always be my favourite starter and even better with a drizzle of lime. It consists of mashed vegetables and is garnished with raw red onion and coriander.

Pau Bhaji

Chilli Cheese Toast – Very good but arrived slightly cold. Melted cheese with chillis, coriander and spring onions on bread.

Chilli Cheese Toast

Vada Pau – I wouldn’t get this again unless I’m sharing it as it is quite heavy with other bread based starters.
Gunpowder potatoes – Soft and succulent baby new potatoes with crispy skin accompanied with spring onions and raitha.

Gunpowder Potatoes

Paneer Tikka-Very good. I particularly liked the chargrilled peppers.

Paneer Tikka
Paneer and mango salad-
Surprisingly the soft cheese and mango went really well together and this was a great combination. The salad came with a bread stick which looked pretty but was quite hard.

Mains
House Black Daal
– My favourite dish here-this comforting dish is what I come to Dishoom for. The daal is very flavoursome especially with a squeeze of lime.
Mattar Paneer – The tomato based sauce was really good-you can taste the strong Indian spices seeping through. Although paneer and peas is a classic curry combination – in my opinion, the peas get in the way.
Roomali roti – Thin and light. I’m more of a rice girl but this is a delicious bread with a saucy accompaniment.
Garlic Naan –Always yummy. A great bread for garlic lovers.

Raitha- I always have yoghurt with Indian food and the Dishoom raitha which includes red onion, coriander and spices is particularly good especially with the house black daal.RaithaDessert:

Pineapple and black pepper crumble-A very pleasant surprise and a delicious warm winter pudding. The crumble reminded me of homemade Indian biscuits. This comes with custard in a small metal pot. I couldn’t taste much pineapple but for me that’s a win because it’s all about the crumble! A new fave.

Chocolate pudding: Quite similar to a chocolate torte, rich and extremely chocolaty. Came with cinnamon ice cream (usually served with chilli ice cream but this wasn’t available- I think I’d prefer cinnamon anyway). This was a nice sweet ending to the meal.

Kulfi stick– You can’t go wrong with this. The dense evaporated milk used to make this creates a delicious creamy flavour. Available in pistachio, mango and malai. I love them all and my favourite is pistachio.

Service:  Unforgettable service. All the waiters were attentive and informative. They were enthusiastic, encouraged us to try new dishes and clearly excited about the opening. They knew the menu well and were happy to explain all the dishes and offer suggestions (we can pretty much recite the menu in our sleep but we played along like good test runners should!).

Thank you to Dishoom for a great evening and an exquisite meal! As usual Dishoom didn’t fail to impress. I highly recommend Dishoom Carnaby, as well as the other branches (Kings Cross being my favourite). The extremely popular restaurant has been a preferred go to of mine for a few years due to the wide variety of veggie options and that won’t be changing anytime soon!

Reservations: Reservations can be made online for groups of 6 or more for dinner and any number for breakfast/lunch. You can also email reservations@dishoom.com
Good luck! It’s hard to secure a dinner reservation here unless its well in advance.
Locations: Carnaby, Kings Cross, Shoreditch, Covent Garden
Perfect for: Any occasion.
Rating: 9/10

Website: http://www.dishoom.com

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Dishoom Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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