Dishoom, Upper St. Martin’s Lane

Dishoom purports to be a ‘Bombay Cafe’ with a Persian heritage, and presents a modern exterior with retro touches such as tarnished mirrors and low hanging lights. Things are buzzy and appealing, but whilst not busy we were crammed in up against a young family with toddlers running underneath our table. Whilst I applaud the intergenerational appeal, we could only be ‘charmed’ for so long. Anyhow, onto the food.

The mix is a curious hotch-potch of familiar indian dishes and ‘indianised’ european dishes with a few Persian echoes for good measure. Chai was sweet and spiced, fresh mint tea was zingy and good value. I had heard they had a gluten free menu, and the waitress obliged with a menu with suitable options highlighted. Or rather not highlighted as there was a rather confusing mix of symbols, colours and shapes to decipher with a legend before I eventually was able to select something.

We ordered a selection of larger plates to share and settled back to enviously watch the chefs spinning and cooking tissue-thin rotis on a round drum.

The grilled dishes were delightful – charcoaled and zingy with fresh lime and roasted spices. Paneer came light and creamy – quite unlike the rubbery lumps I have tasted too often. The signature Black Daal was unusual and smokey. I had also selected a biryani – but despite the menu saying this was gluten free – the dish arrived sealed in its pot with a layer of dough, and sprinkled with fried crumbed onions. Very diasappointing – and concerning that it could signify a lack of knowledge of what constitutes a gluten-free dish.

Despite the slip-up we enjoyed our dishes, and with a substantial lunch costing around £30 this represented very good value for its location and quality.

Glutenfreeability 5 (would have been high if not for the slip up)
Food 8
Service 6