Dishoom Manchester replicated a real sense of Mumbai’s (formerly Bombay) culinary traditions, with it’s brunch ’till evening, informal menu. Furthermore, Dishoom communicated a taste of the city’s historic culture built by the generally fast-paced, hard-working and welcoming people. Restrained British touches such as the East India Gimlet, sat comfortably with the more exotic incense burning on arrival. Mercifully, the restaurant hadn’t imported Mumbai’s death trap toilets, as Dishoom’s were spotless. Since 1949 Mumbai citizens legally require a personal permit to “require foreign liquor and country liquor for preservation and maintenance of my health.” Fortunately, Dishoom Manchester had adopted a more lax British attitude to alcohol consumption.
The colonial-inspired Dishoom dining room paid homage to the typically Indian focus on the family. I don’t know if Manchester’s Indian community have much of an opinion either way of the – shall we say controversial – role the British Empire played in Indian history. Regardless, Dishoom seemed to take pride in this element of Mumbai’s heritage. The main part of the restaurant was the ‘Family Room’ a great many genuine portraits of the owner’s extended ancestors watched over guests with quiet approval. Unlike 90% of Manchester’s Indian restaurants, Dishoom refreshingly employees not only white people but wait for it, women too. Regardless, our young male Mancunian server of Indian heritage was excellent, proving to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable and prompt.
Shortly after the tipples were served, a few vibrant freshly made dips were provided before the food steam-rolled through. The Keema Pau was incredible, a memorable dish, defying expectations. It looked like two ordinary looking buns next to dish of mud. Doesn’t sound appetising, but this description betrayed the buttery, spicy, just delicious impact that followed. The Chilli Chicken was ideally spiced, tender as expected, but the batter wasn’t for me. Too reminiscent of a takeaway…a Chinese takeaway. Having had my mind blown by the Keema Pau I was expecting fireworks from the Chilli Cheese Toast. It was simply that, chilli and cheese on toast. All fine, but something I’d sooner make at home in my pyjamas than bother putting pants on and leaving the house for. Don’t get me wrong, I still wolfed it down.
Dishoom prides itself on their Biryani, and I saw why. Perfectly formed soft rice hid generous pieces of silky lamb. It was a dish that felt humble and comforting, yet luxurious at the same time. Only free-range lamb is sourced, and it shows. I rarely eat lamb, let alone twice in one meal, but it was seemingly something of a Dishoom speciality. Considering the cost of meat and food in general has rocketed, I thought it reasonably priced. That’s not to say Dishoom Manchester was a restaurant only good at slow-cooking stuff. Dishoom’s lightly cooked Basa Fillets were gently marinated with yogurt, careful charred, and delicately spice. The fish was pleasingly fresh and sustainable sourced; although, would have been better served before rather than after the heavier dishes.
Peppermint Tea was required and enjoyed, but this was upstaged by my best Chai Latte to date, something I’d strongly suggest to enjoy. The young server spoke with pride of the Chai mixture was brewed every morning. I asked him for the recipe, but I lost track after the fifteenth ingredient he reeled of. On another occasion, I’ll try the epic sounding Viceroy Old Fashioned, with bourbon, bay leaf and green tea.
Dishoom Manchester Wine Prices
An Indian restaurant is usually the last place I’d go for a glass of wine, but Dishoom Manchester had a surprisingly good bar, even if the wine glasses were naff. Decent enough red and white wines were promptly served, and did a good job of standing up to the different flavours that laid ahead. At the time of writing, the cheapest bottle of wine at Dishoom Manchester, excluding service charge, was a 2017 French Merlot/Grenache blend by Roc d’Opale at £23.50. Conversely, the most expensive bottle of wine, excluding service charge, was a Non Vintage Gosset Grande Reserve Champagne at £95.
Dishoom Restaurant Review Score
Manchester has lots of curry options; but for me, Dishoom is one of the better ones due to its focused menu, welcoming atmosphere, smart interior and authentic dishes.
Atmosphere 10 Cost 8 Quality 8 Service 10
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Manchester Evening News: “It’s the sort of deeply nourishing comfort food they should prescribe on the NHS.”
Eat and Two Veg: “…this isn’t just another cookie clutter ‘industrial chic’ room with exposed brickwork and minimal lighting.”