Dishoom, Kings Cross
Modelled on traditional Bombay Cafes opened in the early 20th Century by Iranian immigrants to India, Dishoom has captured their joie de vivre spirit beautifully. The Kings Cross restaurant is housed within a handsomely restored Victorian former railway transit shed constructed in 1850. Its setting next to the canal, once functional due to it having been a warehouse for import and export, adds to its charm and the interior is a mix of colonial and industrial, with a very beautiful countenance. The lamps, tiling, nostalgic artwork and the dark wood add exotic allure. Dishoom is a frenetic and romantic place just like turn of the century Bombay herself and a great place to spend a few hours.
There is a wonderful range of mouth-watering treats for you to try here; just pace yourself depending on the game plan. The Chai is recommended and comes in proper Chai glasses; you could treat yourselves and start with a Naughty Chocolate Chai (served with a shot of Bourbon). Gorgeously layered, and in some cases, heaped with spices and flavours, the menu is intoxicating – Chilli Cheese Toast is fun to start, Spicy Lamb Chops and Mahi Tikka are jumping off the plate with flavour and definitely have a go on the rich House Black Daal, lovingly simmered for 24 hours for depth. Sides are fresh and delicious and the rice and naans are banging, obviously.
Make sure you pre-book a table and meet at Granary Square; anything beats a rendez-vous at Kings Cross station. Greet each other a la Française with a kiss on each cheek next to one of the prettily lit fountains. Allow yourself to get swept away by the fans turning overhead and the sense of an impending adventure as you walk through the door and start as you mean to go on with a cocktail such as the Bollybellini (raspberries, lychees, rose, cardamom topped with Prosecco) for ladies or an East India Gimlet (Portobello Road gin, Rose’s lime, celery bitters) for gents. Lunchtime sees a suited and booted crowd from the office blocks nearby so perhaps try an early evening meal or a late afternoon drink to really soak in the atmosphere of the Café. If you fancy carrying on the evening, try Simmons on Caledonian Road for old skool décor, fun drinks and cheesy 80’s tunes or The Fellow on York Way for more sophisticated supping.
A lazy, boozy breakfast date would also work very well here followed by a trip to the House of Illustration gallery a few yards away. The bacon naan roll is legendary.
The area isn’t ideal but it’s starting to take a new shape and if this new opening is anything to go by, we should all watch this space carefully.
4. It has the feel of an elegant old train station – it’s very Brief Encounter.