The mini Irani cafe revolution that is taking place in London, courtesy the Dishoom team has spread wider in the city, while Desi Road, serves Indian comfort food, with a diverse menu and beautiful thalis that pay tribute to the country’s diverse culinary traditions
Dishoom Carnaby: Rewind to 1960s Mumbai
The mini Irani cafe revolution that is taking place in London, courtesy the Dishoom team has spread wider in the city. This time around, their fourth outlet on Kingly Street in Soho, will give a taste of 1960s Bombay (Mumbai) to discerning gastronomes.
The food at Dishoom aims to capture the essence of the Irani café culture in Mumbai
As a loving homage to the beloved Irani cafe, the team, comprising of Kavi and Shamil Thakrar and the rest, as well as designer Macaulay Sinclair, worked overtime to recreate the look and feel of the era within the 7,000 sq ft space, and will also include a permit room, several rooms for all-day dining, an open kitchen and an enclosed terrace.
Shamil Thakrar, co-owner
R&D for rewind mode
To recreate the heady vibe of 1960s Bombay, the team spent time with Sidharth Bhatia, author of India Psychedelic, a book that charts how Western music, primarily Rock N’ Roll, caught the fancy of the city in that era.
This photo of Dolly and Dilip Thakore can be seen at the restaurant
They met with personalities like Dolly Thakore, Farrukh Dhondy, Gerson da Cunha, Alyque Padamsee, Roger Pereira, Padmini Mirchandani, Adil Jusawalla and others who crisscrossed both cities, and were at the heart of this rocking scene.
Dishoom Babus (as Shamil and Kavi are called) also explored iconic 1960s landmarks in the city, around Churchgate and Nariman Point. They also dropped by some of Mumbai’s surviving Irani cafes and scoured around town for antiques and memorabilia that are integral to the Irani cafes of the time. Over 150 such pieces have been artfully restored to furnish Dishoom Carnaby.
Just like home
Revealing the reason for a fourth outlet in London, Shamil says, “People have responded really well to our food, and certainly, if they hadn’t we wouldn’t be able to open another Dishoom! In a way, much of our menu is fairly traditional Bombay comfort food — Keema Pav, Sali Boti, Akuri, Pav Bhaji, Prawns Koliwada and so on.”
When asked about it standing out from the curry house phenomena that hit UK decades ago, he summarises, “It’s not something that Indians or non-Indians in the UK were that familiar with – the ‘curry house’ was many people’s main experience of Indian food. However, it seems that they have really taken to our type of food. Bombay comfort food, after all, is generally delicious.”
At: Dishoom Carnaby, 22 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5QB.
Log on to: www.dishoom.com