|Dishoom Edinburgh – 5 minutes before being totally full.|
Dishoom, Edinburgh review – “Not dissimilar to dining at a decent tapas restaurant our dishes came thick and fast, as opposed to entrees followed by mains. My central dish of chicken ‘Ruby Murray’ – love the wink to Cockney rhyming slang possibly referencing Dishoom’s London origins – was an absolute belter…”
Excitedly getting ready to see one of the groups that provided the soundtrack to my youth – in the form of the always inventive and enduring Pet Shop Boys – play live in Edinburgh the other day got me thinking about cooking and eating. Bear with me on this one! As for me, food and music have a lot in common. My tastes are really quite broad and varied with regard to both – I’m not a huge fan of ‘death metal’ however, either as a musical genre or a cuisine. I’m always looking out for something new and interesting in terms of a dish, tune, restaurant or artist. But I also regularly hanker after the familiar, be it in terms of food or music, although it’s always refreshing to encounter an updated take on an old favourite from my younger days.
|Vada Pau – spicy chip butty, anyone?|
How appropriate then that prior to trotting off to see the PSBs lift the roof on the Edinburgh Playhouse, JML, our friend Tina, and I chose to dine at a relatively new kid on the city’s culinary block in the form of Dishoom. Appropriate, because as someone born and raised in the environs of Birmingham, Indian – or more accurately, Punjabi, Pakistani and Bangladeshi – cuisine was something my younger self was delighted to be constantly familiar with. Yet, like a stunning remix of a favourite tune, Dishoom brings a new perspective on the food of the subcontinent, a world away from the Balti houses of my formative years.
|Chilli cheese toast – sort of Indian rarebit.|
The Edinburgh branch of Dishoom(there are already four, highly regarded, sister venues in central and east London) threw open its doors in the redeveloped southern edge of St Andrew’s Square at the end of 2016, and has already had folk, quite literally, queuing out the door as reservations are only taken for parties of six or more. The venue is spread over three floors of a stylish, Victorian former office building, and consists of a buzzing, speakeasy-esque cocktail bar and dining area in the basement, a modest reception area and truly enormous open kitchen at ground level, with stairs to rival Jacob’s Ladder leading to the colonial-inspired main dining area above. Taken in the round, it exhibits all the credentials of a well put together and welcoming dining and supping venue.
|Chicken Ruby Murray and kachumber.|
Not dissimilar to dining at a decent tapas restaurant our dishes came thick and fast, as opposed to entrees followed by mains. My central dish of chicken “Ruby Murray” – love the wink to Cockney rhyming slang possibly referencing Dishoom’s London origins – was an absolute belter; beautifully cooked poultry in an earthily-spiced sauce that also encapsulated a lovely chilli warmth and rich makhani buttery-ness . Tina’s chicken tikka was atypical in the best possible way, thanks to a marinade based on sweet vinegar, as opposed to yoghurt, and which also encompassed ginger, garlic, turmeric and chilli to produce a superb balance of flavours. JML’s Awadhi lamb biryani was sumptuously aromatic perfectly matching unctuous slow cooked lamb and spice infused rice. Amongst the best he has tasted, apparently.
|Dishoom slaw & masala prawns.|
In an effort to boost our five a day, ‘a bowl of greens’ – spinach, sugar snaps and broccoli, cooked to point and tumbled in lime juice, chilli and a hint of – I think – cumin made being healthy, well tasty. As did the deceptively straightforward kachumber – a simply delicious salad of sweet red onion, cool cucumber and ripe tomato, again enhanced with lime and subtle spice. I know I mention “spice” a lot in this review, and I’m not merely referring to chilli. Each dish was a bit like opening presents at Christmas – ooh, a trace of cumin and coriander there; ah, cardamom and a hint of methi there. Combined with really good ingredients, I just wanted to go from bowl, to plate to bowl. And I haven’t even mentioned the smashing glasses of Dishoom IPA and rich, fruity Rioja that we quaffed with our feast.
Atmosphere – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Value – 8/10
Ambience – expect a buzzing restaurant/bar with a welcoming and relaxed vibe.