Much hyped since announced earlier in the year, Dishoom has been arguably the biggest restaurant launch in Manchester this year. I’ve been wanting to go since opening day but decided to skip the opening weekend queues and go this week instead. Is it worth the hype?
Anticipation went up a notch for me when I got copies of the Good Food Guide and Where Chefs Eat (thank you SDW), both of which hold Dishoom in high regard. After the Christmas rush was over I couldn’t’ wait any longer to try it out.
Dishoom is situated in Manchester Hall, a historic building more known for staging weddings and conferences than the latest foodie experience. A small sign outside is the only real clue to what awaits you inside, making it very easy to walk past without knowing it was ever there.
Luckily, Dishoom hasn’t had any issues in getting the message out there with queues during the opening weekend and throughout the Christmas period. Even on a quiet day between Christmas and New Year when most places in town are relatively quiet, the place is packed, with only two tables left when we arrive.
As soon as you walk through the door it’s obvious this isn’t just another cookie clutter ‘industrial chic’ room with exposed brickwork and minimal lighting. No Dishoom is a little different the really makes the most of the building. With its loving take on the Irani cafe culture of Mumbai, it’s little touches such as the burning incest as you walk through, the rotating ceiling fans and marble tables that really sell the experience.
Once sat down we were given the menu and some time to choose our dishes. Whilst the menu is beautifully designed, the newspaper styling certainly isn’t the clearest menu to work out. Luckily staff where on-hand to help make sense of it all.
For those following a veggie diet, the menu is well stocked with options across the range. Sadly, the main menu does not list anything vegan, although staff did say a separate vegan menu was available.
Service throughout the meal was excellent, with our waiter Marius always on-hand to help when needed. It’s great when staff know the menu inside out and are able to help us make informed choices and he also was able to explain what each dish was perfectly.
Three Veggie Dishes to Try at Dishoom
House Black Daal
The signature dish of Dishoom and the one I’d recommend you try first. Cooked over 24 hours to give it an extra rich flavour, this lightly spiced daal is simply delicious. It’s not as thick as most Daal either, so expect to make a bit of a mess. At least I did :-).
If I see Paneer on the menu I am always going to order it. These extra large slices of paneer are marinated then charred before being served with peppers.
With a name like that, I had to try it! These skins-on potatoes are smoky-grilled, lightly smashed and broken before being tossed with herbs, seeds and butter for extra flavour. Make sure you order some!
Drinks at Dishoom
Ok, so you don’t go a place like Dishoom for the drinks, but I still find them a little disappointing. Firstly, they don’t serve any draft beer, relying on bottles only (a personal pet peeve rather than a real problem I know). We also ordered a glass of pinot too, which arrived in a tumbler style glass. Considering it was nearly £9 for a small glass I was hoping for something a little better.
Notes and observations:
- Bookings during the evening are not accepted for groups of less than six. As annoying as this is I can see why they do it. You can blame on the no-shows at restaurants for this becoming more commonplace. However, bookings are taken up until 5.45pm for groups of all sizes.
- Dishoom also has a bar, The Permit Room, serving a range of cocktails and other drinks. Considering my comments above, I think there are better options in town if you’re looking for drinks only.
- Make sure you try Okra fries when you go! They are a lot less fried than those served up at Bundobust and really bring out the flavour in the okra (otherwise known as lady fries). For my money, they are the best in town.
- It’s not somewhere that screams breakfast venue but Dishoom does indeed serve breakfast until 11.45am every day. Expect Parsi Omelettes and other Bombay favourites. If you are looking for something more adventurous than a full English fry up I recommend you give it a go.
- A meal for a meal – it’s always good to hear when a restaurant gives back to the community. For every meal you have Dishoom donates one to a child via the Magic Breakfast charity in the UK and Akshaya Patra in India.
- A small touch, but the table water is served up in what looks like the bottom of a cocktail shaker – a great choice.
Overall, I do recommend you try out Dishoom – they may be the cheapest place in Manchester to eat, but it’s clear that this is food cooked with passion, commitment and an eye for detail.
Worth the hype? Just about 🙂
Looking for more Indian options? Here’s a few more places we recommend you try out!
If you are after Indian Street Food and great beer it’s hard to beat Bundobust. Cheap prices and great set menu’s make this a winner. The menu is fully veggie too with plenty of vegan options.
Named after Asha Bhosle (made famous in the Cornershop song), Asha’s is one of the top Indian restaurants in town. The recently launched small plates menu is excellent too