well, wasn't monday awfully lovely? what a day to be alive. it was bex's birthday on sunday but as she'd just spent the last three nights in reyjavik and the best part of her birthday in transit, the plan was to catch up on the bank holiday monday instead. come monday though, getting around london was a tad trickier than normal, but despite katie's best efforts we agreed that shoreditch would be the least tricky area to get to, and decided on dishoom as our birthday brunch spot of the day; none of us had been, and we'd all only heard good things.
by the time we all made it to the restaurant, it had gone 1:30 so we'd missed the brunch menu (only on until 11:30 on weekdays), which meant our bacon naan dreams were out the window. it did mean that we were able to order from the ~whole a la carte menu though (and cocktails if we fancied), which i think counts as silver lining. none of us were in the mood for hard drinks, so we ordered in a round of coffees and bottomless house chai (£2.50), before tackling the menu.
i opted for a small side of the dishoom calamari (£5.90) to start, with a serve of the black daal (£5.90) and some basmati rice, and a plain naan (£2.50) for my mains. the calamari was crunchy and full of flavour, although was served dry. i asked for some mint yoghurt to dip it in to, as despite the generous seasoning in the crumb-casing on the squid, i do like a little dip-dip on the side. the yoghurt was the perfect accompaniment to the crispy squid too; not that the dish was too spicy at all, but it just balanced all the flavours out nicely. enjoyable!
i'd not had anything but a bit of chocolate and a coffee all day (it's easter, leave me alone), so i was more than peckish, and antsy for my daal to arrive. when it did, i was shocked at how much you get in a serve. i'd forgotten to order my own rice, but i don't think i would have been able to finish a whole serve on my own, so gratefully ani let me have a couple of spoonfuls of what was left from her chicken ruby. the naan was warmed and crispy, and quite thick too, so piling on rice and daal to then shovel in my mouth was no problem at all. and so it was, me eating brunch with my hands once again.
the meal itself was just delicious; definitely the right kind of spice-y - as in the appropriate use of spices, not the inappropriate use of heat. the sauce was rich and full of flavour - flavour that i can still taste on my tongue and smell in my nose hours after eating, as i write this post. the thing i like about a daal - well, any lentil dish really, is how filling they are, for the price of the dish. when a chicken or lamb curry can cost almost twice the price, i quite feel like i'm in on a secret when i order a lentil dish and feel equally as full from it. plus: always mega tasty (and you can't under cook lentils, ha!).
with our meals finished and the dishes cleared away, it was time for dessert. although the offer was there, and the mango kulfie sounded too delicious to not at least try, i passed and opted for yet another refill of the chai while the girls settled on peppermint teas. seriously, if you're going to tell me something is bottomless, i am going to get as much of it as i can take. i think in the end i'd racked up five refills, which.. isn't that impressive, i know, so i will definitely have to go back and try again.
the sweet and spicy drink was absolutely delicious, just simply not big enough. before i knew that the price of it (£2.50) accounted for as many refills as you liked, i was kind of horrified when my first drink arrived. i'd hoped that - considering it was the same price as their coffees (which i am also told are out of this world - an by a kiwi too, and you know when a kiwi tells you that the coffee is good, you believe them), it would at least be the same size, and not served in a much smaller glass. alas, it doesn't matter, because all-you-can-drink is a challenge i can get on board with.
so, for my first attempt at dishoom, i'm pretty happy with myself. i came away with change from twenty quid, a belly full of delicious foods, and the taste of chai still warm on my tongue. next time we are definitely going to attempt an earlier slot so we can get in on the bacon naan i hear so much about, and i absolute think this will be a spot to put on "the mum list" for later in the year when the old duck is in town and wanting to eat her way around london as healthily as possible. she's a chai fiend just like i am, so i already know she will agree to the restaurant, based on that alone.
fancy heading along yourself; you can find dishoom in a number of london locations, so why not?