Dishoom King's Cross

Once upon a time, many moons ago (November) a plucky young damsel (Tamsin) leapt aboard her metallic steed (the Tube) and embarked upon a perilous journey to the east (King's Cross) for a banquet that would surely change her life (Dishoom). 

So I really liked Dishoom. I realised upon stepping through the doors of the restaurant that I'd never had a 'nice' Indian meal. That's not to say I haven't had great Indian takeaway - we've got loads of those around north-west London - or the fantastic mamak Indian food in Malaysia - but somehow, I'd never been to a proper Indian restaurant in central London. Luckily, my first experience of decent Indian dining didn't disappoint!

I seriously love a theme. Give me a theme and I'll be head over heels with your bar/café/restaurant/indie pop-up straight away; the more niche the better. The recently vacated dilapidated home of a vicar? Yes please, Reverend J.W. Simpson. Obviously the food and drink have to be excellent to match - and if they do, I'm in Disneyland for grown-ups. Dishoom's theme is fantastically evocative. Housed in one of the high-ceilinged old warehouses off Granary Square, behind King's Cross, it only makes sense for the restaurant to emulate a godown (warehouse) serving street food to the harried, hungry Bombay commuters bustling in and out of the neighbouring train station in 1928. Right?

Well, it had me hook, line and sinker...

Alex and I visited the restaurant during its soft launch period, and the queues were slightly intimidating. But the service was great from the outset, with a waitress venturing into the cold to bring us little shot glasses of warm spicy chai, which was just the ticket on a nippy November night. After the initial queue, we went to the bar to await our table. The godown theme continued in here, too - the bar is called 'The Permit Room', so called because in Bombay alcohol is prohibited, and a 'permit room' is a place where one can imbibe liquor, supposedly for the preservation of one's health. Being health-conscious citizens, we naturally we had to order a couple of pegs of drink (pegs being a measurement used in the Punjab, of course...) - a Chai Paanch and a a Viceroy's Old Fashioned, which came in beautiful little glass bottles. 

The 1920s Indian railway theme continued when we'd been seated with wonderful broadsheet newspaper-like menus that begged to be spread out across the table and read at leisure. When we'd had our fill of perusing, we ordered (okra) fries to soak up the booze, garlic naan, a paneer and mango salad, and a marinated lamb biryani to share.

The most rictus grin ever.

The mains were lovely (next time I'll be ordering more!) but the highlight was definitely pudding. The moment we saw the menu, we knew there would be no escaping the pineapple crumble infused with black pepper and Keralan vanilla... 

This one's got a smug face because way back in the day, when we first met, he cajoled me into eating a slice of mango sprinkled with black pepper because he thought it was a wonderful flavour combination.

Sweet and peppery do make for an delicious mix, I'll give him that. Especially when served with warm custard! (P.S. please note the candle moved right up next to the ramekin in a bid to combat every food blogger's nemesis, the dark restaurant...)

Oh, and most important of all - the 'water closets'. I had a bit too much fun in there...and not only because of the fantastic vintage prints on display. You too will see what I mean if you take a trip back in time to the toilets of 1928 Bombay...

Greeted by the magical colour-changing jets of water splashing rhythmically in the Granary Square courtyard, I was quickly transported back to the 21st century. I will most definitely be returning to Dishoom soon, particularly for their breakfast! I hear the bacon naan roll is to die for...

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