I feel a bit conflicted that my first real review in months is the newly-open Dishoom rather than an established Brummie favourite, but I’m aware it’ll be one lots of you are interested in.
If you’re reading this from the future, 2020 has (thus far) been a bit of a bin fire. I’m not going to litter this post with anecdotes of lockdown or my new found love of baking things.. mainly because it wasn’t very interesting and my banana bread is still shite. But one thing I did continue to do from my COVID-19 prison was spend money on food that made me happy – something I’m now fortunate enough to be doing again with brushed hair and optional human interaction.
Living in the city centre is great if you like “eating out,” as Dishy Rishi puts it. I’m lucky to have Dishoom within a 10 minute walk from my apartment, and I have no doubt I’ll get plenty of use out of the spacious outdoor terrace and furlough-friendly price point over the next few months. Originally due to open in April at the new and sparkly Paradise development (between Victoria Square and the library), the restaurant has been a long awaited opening for the city. And one I’ve personally been looking forward to – mainly on the back of all the bacon naans I’ve scoffed in the London venues before.
This maiden visit was for the all day menu rather than breakfast. Mainly because I wasn’t hungover and that’s really what a bacon naan here is made for. Inside you’re greeted by dark wood, shades of plush green and a gentle waft of warm spice. The level of detail with regards to decor is actually quite lovely if you take a good look. In keeping with the new normal, tables are spaced apart and everyone is doing their best to make it feel like it’s business as usual with big smiles under their masks.
This enthusiasm led me to ordering a “yeah fuck it” amount of food. From the small plates section, crisp lamb samosas (£5.50) deep fried in a filo pastry case and are packed with plenty of the pillowy potato and mince filling plus a gentle hum of what my mum would call ‘winter spice’ but the menu identifies as cinnamon and clove. You get 3 and they’re right nice. Chilli chicken (£6.90) offers crispy, sticky bites, packing a punch of ginger and garlic with enough heat from fresh chillies to wake up the senses. My favourite thing I ate and really moreish, as is the venue’s take on popadoms and chutney, khichia and chundo (£2.90).
Onto curries, the chicken ruby (£12.50) is a glistening bowl of gorgeousness, with tender meat and a rich, lustrous gravy hitting you with fenugreek and cardamom flavours. It’s pretty hard to stop eating it even when you’re full – which I’m sure has absolutely everything to do with the cream and butter that’s definitely lurking in there. Highly recommend a garlic naan (£3.50) to mop it all up with because.. well, it’s delicious. The Brum signature dish (each Dishoom has a different one, I totally forgot about this, like a muppet) of mutton chaap korma (£19.50) is pricier than other mains but a must try according to the servers for my next visit.
The gunpowder potatoes (£6.90) were not my favourite but nice enough as a side to share – a bit smoky and better when you hit one that’s been kissed by intense heat and crisped a little more. There’s loads of them in a portion too. Green dream murgh malai (£9.70) is ace if you’re into garlic and coriander – I am and these mouthfuls of grilled chicken thigh are sexy. Finally, if you like carb on carb, shout out to the vada pau (£4.70) that’s basically a horny take on a chip buttie.
Drinks wise, for once I stayed off the booze (they do a lovely chai (£3.20) and mango lassis (£4.20) though) but there’s beers, wines and cocktails. They also have a nice initiative where for every meal provided to guests another is donated to a child via U.K. and Indian charities – a nice move on their part to help feed hungry kids. It’s called “a meal for a meal” if you want to look it up.
Having over ordered on purpose, the rest was kindly boxed up for me to take home to my very grateful (and now equally garlic scented) husband. I’ll schedule a hangover and be back for the breakfast offering another day soon but this is good central casual dining option. All in all a positive first experience and plenty more on the menu I want to try. Welcome to Brum, bab, I think you’re going to be very popular.
*P.S If you don’t have it already, the Dishoom cook book is well worth getting. Most of the recipes are in there for the dishes and the photography and artwork is absolutely stunning. I was given a copy earlier this year and it’s truly lovely.
– Birmingham’s nod to Bombay opens officially 6th August 2020
– Bookings can be made for up to 6 people online. Walk-ins also accepted
– Info on their Covid measures online
– There’s veggie, vegan and various intolerance-friendly dishes available
Dishoom Birmingham, 1 Chamberlain Square, Paradise Birmingham, Birmingham, B3 3AX
Disclosure: Words and pictures are mine. I dined during the ‘soft launch’ period so food was 50% off – this offer is available to any Dishoom customer by advanced booking. Drinks were paid for in full and I left a tip.