Dishoom- A Bombay Café in London
Dishoom taps on the old Irani “Cafes of Bombay” concept where all are welcome; rich businessmen, sweaty taxi-wallas and courting couples. This is the restaurant where fans turn slowly and Brentwood chairs are reflected in stained mirrors next to sepia family portraits. This is also the place where students have breakfast, families dine and writers find their characters. It is therefore not surprising that when we visited Dishoom in St Martin’s Courtyard, many were queuing for a table while the restaurant was filled with happy diners.
The restaurant’s busy basement bar is the base for diners waiting to be seated while barmen delight them with a selection of cocktails.
Above all, this is where we discovered Haleem – a slow-cooked delicacy. Haleem, a celebratory delicacy of Arab origin has been served for centuries in the royal palaces of Saudi Arabia.
The story goes that it was first introduced to the Hyderabadi State in India by the Nizam rulers. They were known for eating a variety of rich foods, as their cooks used to prepare a variety of aromatic delicacies such as biryani, kababs and of course, haleem. It then slowly gained in popularity among the Hyderabadi community. Even today Hyderabad is famous for selling its ‘Hyderabadi Haleem’ – which has recognised geographical indication status – at places such as Pista House. They’re known for exporting internationally to places such as Dubai, and it’s not uncommon for Bollywood types to place an order when the craving hits them.
The cooking process of Haleem is very lengthy. It takes about 8 hours. Wheat, lamb and lentils are simmered with precise quantities of coriander, turmeric, cumin and many other aromatic spices. Then the ingredients are pounded to intertwine and infuse the spices, release the flavour, and create a thick, smooth texture, almost a savoury porridge. Ginger, fried onions and chillies provide a certain crunch and texture that compliments the consistency. Haleem is served with sesame-onion seed naan – aap ko pasand aiye ga.
Dishoom is not all about Haleem. The restaurant serves real value-for-money dishes and has a wide selection of food and drink including a creative breakfast selection. Other slow-cooked meals such Biryani and the Rajma-Chawal. Dining at Dishoom is a must if you are visiting London’s theatre base. Reservations are necessary though as the restaurant is very popular.
The Executive Traveller Canadian Afternoon Tea Awards
|Third place, The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria:|
Had I been basing my judgment simply on location and stature, the Fairmont Empress hotel, Victoria would have leapt way ahead of my first and second choices. The hotel sits majestically at the cornerstone of Victoria’s Inner Harbour and one cannot fail to bow as you are greeted by its grandeur whether you arrive by land or sea.
|First runner up, the Tea Room at Windsor Arms Hotel:|
“Deluxe, compact and bijou” will be my description for the elegant 1920s French styles, tea rooms with cozy fireplaces at Windsor Arms Hotel located at 18 St Thomas Street, on the corner of Bloor Street West, Toronto. The property has been in existence since 1927, however, the tea rooms alongside
|And the Winner is…Why the Urban Tea Merchant in Vancouver BC is the Most Exquisite Afternoon Tea Place in Canada. The tea service at the Urban Tea Merchant comes out trumps in quality, service and finesse to be our choice for the Most Exquisite Tea Place in Canada. The entrance to the Signature Store does not give much away.|