When I woke up this Sunday morning and peered outside at the street below, I knew it was a day for being inside. Tiny snowflakes were twirling and tumbling, covering the stationary cars, branches of trees and rooftops below like a thick dusting of flour. I switched on ‘Saturday Morning best bites’ and it wasn’t long before I started pondering what to make for Sunday brunch.
Today it will most probably consist of whatever we happen to have in the flat – anything to avoid traipsing to the shops. We’ll probably end up munching on fried eggs, bacon, beans and toast. Simple and satisfying. But I think it’s apt to pause and talk about where I would like to go for breakfast if the weather outside wasn’t so terrifying (and the tube was open for that matter.)
I think I would want to head to the Indian restaurant, Dishoom. “Indian for breakfast?” I hear you cry. Well, this particular breakfast I’m going to talk about is the very English bacon sandwich but with an Indian twist.
We first went to Dishoom on a busy, bustling Saturday night with our friends Sarah and Chris. We had to wait for a table for a while but we were served brilliant cocktails by extremely friendly staff so the wait was painless. We sat down in a booth upstairs that had soft seats, reminiscent of the sleeper train seats we had to sleep on in the Mumbai sleeper train to Goa. These ones were obviously a lot cleaner and more comfortable! (Not a cockroach in sight.)
Dishoom is based on a Bombay café from the 1950s. Adorning the walls are old-fashioned Bollywood film posters. Inside the toilets are glass cabinets filled with lotions and potions with retro labels. The restaurant does feel like it’s come from a bygone era but the food is exactly what you might find at a Mumbai restaurant today. When we were in that huge, pulsating city, we were served our food and drinks in silver metal cups and plates. Drinking the water leaves a metallic taste in your mouth. They do the same at Dishoom. Little touches like that make eating there really special.
The curry we ate that Saturday night was delicious and the star of the show was the ground lamb samosa. But I’m not here to talk about curry, I’m here to talk about breakfast.
I’d been reading Timeout’s best London dishes and had been surprised to read that the Dishoom bacon naan roll was in the top ten meat dishes in the capital. But when I bit into it for the first time and allowed the ingredients to hit my tastebuds, I knew why.
Who knew soft naan bread, bacon, fresh coriander, cream cheese and chilli ketchup were born to be together? The saltiness of the bacon and the creaminess of the cheese offset each other so well. Then, the coriander adds this surprising, fresh Asian zing. Dishoom provide you with little pot of their homemade chilli ketchup which you dip the sandwich into and, oh my goodness, it provides a sweet yet savoury tang to every mouthful.
I was advised by Timeout to try the ‘House Chai’ with it. Again, this was served in a small but long glass, exactly as it would have been served in India. In England, I’ve tried many a chai and we don’t seem to get it right – either it’s too milky, too spicy or too sickly. This one at Dishoom took me back to Mumbai in 2008 when I tried my first ever chai, served to me at a little vegetarian restaurant. The spices were very subtle and there was exactly the right amount of sugar in it. Heart-warming and delicious.