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DISHOOM COVENT GARDEN
12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane
London, United Kingdom
WC2H 9FB
Tel: 020 7420 9320, (http://www.dishoom.com/)

 

By Scott Harrah

Indian food in London in nothing out of the ordinary, but Dishoom in Covent Garden offers Indian food with a unique twist: Indian breakfast with a Persian accent.

Modeled after the original Bombay Cafes in India, back when the city was actually called Bombay (not Mumbai), Dishoom is a Parsi café (Parsis were Zoroastrians who immigrated to India from Iran in the 19th century). The cafes reached their peak at approximately 500 in the 1950s, after India gained its independence, but have now dwindled to “fewer than 30.” Dishoom pays tribute to these multicultural tea rooms of the subcontinent.

Reading the menu at Dishoom explains everything you need to know, as many items contain a short history lesson about Parsi cuisine and culture in India. The breakfast menu contains the following under Cooked Breakfasts: “The Parsi bodybuilders—whose portraits hang from the walls of Yazdani café—famously consumed several eggs a day to attain their muscular physiques. These breakfasts would satisfy any candidate for the coveted Mr. Zoroastrian crown.”

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HEARTY PARSI-STYLE EGGS, TOAST & BACON: Kejriwal, described as “two fried eggs on chili cheese toast,” served with three rashers of bacon. Photo: Scott Harrah

On a mid-June morning, we stopped in for coffee, orange juice and Kejriwal, described as “two fried eggs on chili cheese toast. A favourite of the well-to-do Willington Club, the first such Bombay institution to admit natives; the dish is reputedly named for the member who kept asking for it. (Not to be confused with Arvind Kejriwal, leader of India’s Aam Aadmi—common man’s political party.)”

The eggs were spicy, a bit on the greasy side, with dark orange yolks (all egg dishes are made with Buford Brown eggs, a type of British egg from a breed of chicken that lays dark brown eggs with a thick shell).

Other breakfast choices include the Bombay omelette (with chopped tomato, onion, coriander and green chili, served with grilled tomato and fire toast). There is also Akuri, spicy scrambled eggs with pau beans and grilled tomato.

We also tried three rashers of bacon (supplied by The Ginger Pig). The bacon was hearty and meatier than the American bacon with which we’re familiar. Those looking for something lighter can choose from masala beans, grilled tomato and grilled mushrooms as a side.

One can also enjoy Dishoom’s naan rolls. Choose from the bacon naan roll, sausage naan roll and the egg naan roll.

Those not into eggs can enjoy a variety of fruit, grains and breads. Choose from fruit and yogurt (with fresh mango, grapes, strawberries and honeydew melon) and “topped with creamy yogurt infused with Keralan vanilla pod, and the London Honey Co’s excellent Buckinghamshire honey.” Also, there is house granola; bun maska, “to be dipped into your spicy chai”; and fire toast, “thick slices of bloomer bread, buttered and thrown onto the grill where they become char-striped,” served with pineapple-pink peppercorn jam and orange marmalade with star anise.

Best of all, almost everything is under 10 pounds, so you can have a filling breakfast without breaking your budget.

Unfortunately, we were not able to try Dishoom for dinner because they do not accept reservations for small groups. Reservations are taken after 5:45pm for groups of 6 or more. However, reservations for groups of any size are taken for breakfast and lunch.

 

Edited by Scott Harrah
Published July 9, 2015
Reviewed in London on June 18, 2015

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