Dishoom in London’s Soho Serves Brunch Parsi Style
Are we in London or Mumbai? Dishoom has a faint feeling of sun-dappled sub-continental 1968, whatever the weather on Regent Street. With daylight filtering through yellow and green glass, the room split by a mid-century sideboard, and a jukebox playing vintage Indian pop, there’s a retro vibe. The food and décor is based on the Irani cafés run in Bombay by Zoroastrian refugees who arrived in India in the 1960s, but the smattering of local media lovies indicate you’re in Soho. There are other branches in Covent Garden, King’s Cross, and Shoreditch, and you can now also have the Dishoom experience in Edinburgh, where an outpost opened lae last year.
Dishoom has traditional dishes on its breakfast menu (perhaps unfamiliar to non-Indians) on its breakfast menu, and these are a great choice for untraditional brunching. It’s the type of place that’s perfect to go to with a hangover, without the grease of the greasy spoon. The cooked breakfasts are the traditional egg-based favourites of Parsi bodybuilders to build up their physique. Keem per Eedu is one of those power breakfasts, designed to give you super strength. The dish includes spicy chicken keema studded with chicken liver topped with runny fried egg and sali crisp chips. There’s also house porridge, cooked with milk, bananas, and dates, with free refills in case that’s not a sturdy enough dish for you.
There’s a selection of bacon naan rolls too. Oh-so-tempting, but too familiar, so I plumped for kejriwal, two fried eggs on chilli toast, a favourite of the venerable-sounding colonial-era Bombay Willingdon Club. It has just the right amount of spice, waking me up even more than the strong creamy coffee that I ordered to kickstart the day (delicious, though I’d love also to try their authentic cardamom teas). My companion had the akuri, with spicy scrambled egg piled up against the traditional soft white pau buns and with grilled tomato. She looked rather uncertain as it arrives, but it was one of the most interesting and tasty scrambles I’ve tasted, a flavor-blast, though it had a dirty cream color from the spice.
After a meal like this, I’m set up for the day, and I’d definitely return on those mornings when Parsi comfort food will hit the spot or I want to imagine there’s sunshine outside.