Vada Pau - India's answer to the chip butty!
Catching up with a friend over from Singapore gave me the opportunity to try one of the places on my wish list; Dishoom in Covent Garden. Armed with some recommendations from my colleague (who sent me on an successful trip to East Ham), I was excited to see how Dishoom compared.
We started with a vada pau which describes itself as 'Bombay's answer to (the) chip butty'. The previous vada I've eaten have all been dough based, but this one was a mix of mash potato, mustard seeds and spices covered in gram flour and then deep fried. The vada was enhanced by the ghati masala (ground red chilli) and green chutney served on the side. We added both with gusto. The chutney was my favourite bringing some extra spices and moisture. The toasted bun was complete carb excess, but made for a great guilty pleasure.
I ordred the bhel based on my friend's recommendation without reading the description on the menu. The bowl of puffed rice, pomegranate, mint, tomato, onion, lime and a tamarind dressing was more colourful and exotic than I was expecting. I particularly liked the explosions of fresh pomegranate, balanced by the gentle sour of the tamarind dressing. I haven't seen an Indian dish like this before, but would happily order it again.
The black dhal (£4.90) was the recommendation from my colleague who claimed it was particularly authentic. It was a rich, cream based dhal that was different to any of the lighter lentil dishes I've eaten before.
Three different chutneys came with our meal. I'm not sure if you're supposed to add the chutneys to the dhal, but I found it helped to break some of the richness and add extra variety.
Spicy lamb chops
Our final dish was the spicy lamb chops (£11.50). The chops were marinated in lime juice, jaggery, ginger, garlic and spices and then char grilled. The chops were juicy on the inside, charred on the outside and well worth the sticky fingers from gnawing on the bones.
Naan bread, rice and pickles
The Bombay style street / café food served at Dishoom was new to me. It's definitely worth a try if you are in the Covent Garden area and in need of a feed. The seats upstairs have a better atmosphere than the table downstairs, so make sure you ask to be seated on street level.
Have a look at my maps page to see all the places in London I have eaten.
12 Upper St Martin’s Lane