Restaurant Review: Dishoom, Manchester

Dishoom Manchester – A Blast of Bombay

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.

Dishoom Manchester Restaurant Review Indian Bombay Mumbai Blog Post
Novel menu design at Dishoom

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 Manchester Restaurant Review Bombay Indian Irani Cafe Curry
Amazing Keema pau at Dishoom Manchester
Dishoom Manchester Restaurant Review Bombay Indian Irani Cafe Curry
Chilli Chicken – bit too takeaway like
Dishoom Manchester Restaurant Review Bombay Indian Irani Cafe Curry
Comforting Chilli Cheese Toast

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.

Dishoom Manchester Restaurant Review Bombay Indian Irani Cafe Curry
Lamb Biryani, a Dishoom speciality
Dishoom Manchester Restaurant Review Bombay Indian Irani Cafe Curry
Marinaded Basa

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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Other Restaurant Reviews
of Dishoom Manchester

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.”

Restaurant Review: Peachy Keens, Manchester

Keenly Priced But Far From Peachy

First impressions of the bizarrely named Peachy Keens Manchester were positive: bright, clean, but juvenile. With over thirty starters, the variety on offer was quite astounding; yet, restaurants trying to be everything become nothing – Peachy Keens Manchester was no exception. I self-righteously tittered at the giant ‘ORIENTAL’ neon sign looming over the school canteenesque dining room, and queried the authenticity of ‘Fish Fingers’ listed under ‘Italian Starters’. This cacophony of branding strangled any potential atmosphere although may appeal to a younger demographic.

Peachy Keens Manchester’s food was disappointing; although, given the exceptionally frugal price, expectations should have been no higher than ‘edible’. The assortment of sushi all tasted the same e.g. of nothing. The Salad Bar was OK but punctuated by tasteless olives and unpleasant cheese. Peachy Keens Manchester’s hot wings were predictably far from hot, rendering themselves redundant. The “Grill Section” masqueraded as a legitimate piece of kitchen equipment – it warmed grey lumps up – rather than cooking steaks to order. My steak was impossible to cut, let alone digest by a human. The Lamb Rogan Josh was ungodly,  smelling like Satan’s left over takeaway; after I was too terrified to return for hot food.

Peachy Keens Manchester’ desserts were either sickly or luminous – the pastry chef made Ronald McDonald look like Michel Roux. Things resembling Aftershock were avoided and ice creams were a psychedelic dripping mess; although, neatly formed miniature cheesecakes were surprisingly edible and in endless supply.

I was amicably greeted, seated and warmly bid farewell to; but, the Peachy Keens Manchester staff were impressively morose. However, the team were organised, with plates quickly materialising and disappearing when required.

Peachy Keens Manchester offered all-you-can-eat food for the price of a nearby swanky cocktail: nobody can ask for better value. Furthermore, Peachy Keens Manchester provided the ultimate in variety and convenience, perfect for young families or groups with differing dietary requirements. Unfortunately, the food ranged from acceptable to offensive.

Peachy Keens Manchester
Review Summary

Atmosphere 3  Cost 10  Quality 2  Service 4

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Manchester

Restaurant Review: The Shampan, Preston

The Shampan – Didn’t Curry Favour

In the most fantastic piece of PR hyperbole ever witnessed, The Shampan Preston promised a ‘zen like atmosphere’. Last time I sat under gaudy neon, watching giant TVs playing hypnotic music I waited for lap dances, not a Chicken Tikka Masalas. I have visited on various occasions, and more than once the staff were comically rude and void of rapport. My all time favourite example was a Shampan Preston’s server abruptly

I’ve visited The Shampan Preston many times, usually, the staff were comically rude and void of rapport. My personal favourite demonstration was a server abruptly stopping in his tracks, cartoonishly double taking, and with a broad smile, zealously proclaimed my partner looked like ‘Ugly Betty’ – the ensuing awkward silence was suffocating.

I have thick skin and a nose for a bargain, so keep crawling back. The Shampan Preston’s Early Bird Menu offers fantastic value, guaranteeing a decent meal for cheaper than I can cook myself, minus the hassle.

The poppadums, sundries and starters were uninspiring but perfectly edible. If used in conjunction with The Shampan Preston’s Early Bird offer, they’re basically free. If you like food that is so hot it makes you cry, go for Chicken Naga Naga. It’s the highlight of The Shampan Preston’s menu, saturated with flavour and full of married together oomph. There is something to be said for eating a meal that doesn’t leave you painfully leaking from every orifice; if you don’t enjoy the exhilaration of inflamed stomach lining and trachea, the Nepali Chicken is a tasty, sensible choice. The Classic Favourites are fine but forgettable, the Madras being particularly flavourless. The side portions and bread were generously portioned, moreish and fabulously unhealthy. The Shampan Preston’s drinks were pricey, but with the Early Bird Menu being so inexpensive, this was no cause for alarm.

The Shampan Preston is not designed for romance but is a great value midweek eatery for chilli-heads looking for speedy service and lots of choices.

The Shampan Preston
Review Summary

Atmosphere 2   Cost 10    Quality 6    Service 2

*Since this review was first published, The Shampan Preston is unfortunately no longer with us –   hence the lack of link*