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We have been to this modern Bombay café in St Martins Lane a number of times and really like the casual style. This restaurant was created to resemble the crumbling glamour of the few remaining Bombay cafes that still can be found in India. You cannot book in this restaurant so you may have an hour wait if it’s a busy weekend. This is not as bad as it sounds as you can wait in the downstairs bar that does the most fabulous East Indian Gimlet cocktails that are fragranced with dill – just delightful or maybe try the spicy Bombay Pimms. The waiters usually overestimate the waiting time so that you are not disappointed and getting fidgety.

The restaurant is white tiled with gold embellishments. The kitchen is in one end of the restaurant and is framed by an intense black and gold border. We were seated by the window that leads on to the street with a couple of old Bombay colourful bikes that lie against the wall. On the table is a 1920’s style golden lamp and the tables are circular with dark wooden seats.

We decided to share a starter of samosas, kebabs and bhajis. These came out promptly and piping hot. The platter was large and had a variety of meat and vegetarian options. The food in this Indian restaurant is not typical to the Indian restaurants in Brick Lane. There is almost a more intense heat that is dry and seems to be lighter and less rich.

For our main course, we ordered a balti with pilaf rice and grilled mushrooms on the side. The balti is incredibly spicy but has a depth and complexity of flavours that most traditional Indians seem to miss. When we say that the food is hot, it is spicy but it is not unpleasant to eat or trying to outdo its competitors; it is almost fresh in its spicy overtones. The field mushrooms are juicy and huge in size and the pilaf is a combination of pink, yellow and while grains that look stunning in the tarnished silver bowls that the curry and rice are served in. We ordered mango lassi to go with this and they came out just to our taste; thick, creamy and with a light twang of mango. The lassi soothed the heat in our mouths.

The service is efficient and pleasant. The waiters know their stuff and although service is fast, you are not rushed – this is in comparison to the intensely fast pace of Jamie’s Italian next door which although is pleasant feels pressurised sometimes. This place takes you back to a time when life was slower and the decaying glamour is almost dream like. Dishoom for quality, price and uniqueness gets:

            Food                       Atmosphere                       Service

3 Stars3 Stars4 Stars

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