Wednesday, July 28

Make room for Dishoom

- February 9, 2021

Confident as I am in the kitchen there is an area of cuisine that I normally leave to the world of restaurants and that is the food of the Indian continent. Okay, I can put together a reasonable “curry” but having visited the continent, eaten in a great many “Indian” restaurants, from your average high street “tandoori” to the far more adventurous and I would hazard accomplished modern venues that boast authentic regional dishes, I prefer to leave this most fascinating of culinary arts to the professionals.

Brighton has been lucky for several years in being able to boast several of the latter, restaurants that have gained not only local but national recognition. That said there is always room for newcomers and at this grim time of pandemic lockdown I for one crave the heat of spicy food to pepper, forgive the pun, my at home diet.

So the arrival of Dishoom, a brand that has already won the hearts of Londoners, comes as a nice new diversion. I was already familiar with the Dishoom brand having dined at their branch close to Kings Cross station in London. I enjoyed eating in and particularly enjoyed the vegetable dishes that I shared with my vegetarian nephew and his boyfriend.

Right now Dishoom is a take-away offering here in Brighton & Hove with no restaurant premises, and the menu is much shorter than usual. This I believe is a decision based on researching which of their dishes travel well. I applaud that having recently, in spicy mood, been very disappointed by a meal from a reputable source arriving barely tepid and sloppily presented.

I shared my Dishoom dinner with my bubble buddies, so don’t think that the following meal was one devoured by just me.

So here we go, to start vegetable samosas, piping hot and still crisp and filled with a vegetable mix that was sweet and delicious and not the grim mush that so often fills the ubiquitous southern Asian pastry. A small pot of sauce to dip into was good too.

We shared three main dishes and a couple of sides so lets start with them. The naan bread was good, not too thick and stodgy as many can be but light and fluffy. The black daal is delicious, really satisfying, dark and rich and beautifully spiced. Daal is Indian comfort food and I was delighted to see that there was plenty, enough in fact for a portion for my lunch the following day.

The chicken ruby, there is a level of humour in the naming of these dishes, was a vibrant and almost alarmingly ruby red dish in a zingy sauce and packed with moist and tender chicken, very good indeed and again very generous. It went down well with all of us and would certainly be on a list again.

The pepper lamb curry did something that lesser restaurants seldom achieve and that is delivering lamb that is both tasty and tender. The meat in this richly sauced and fiery dish could be cut with a spoon but had remained in discernible chunks surrounded by green chilli and capsicums with the heat not only coming from the peppers but also from ginger. It was particularly good and again plentiful.

Finally a jack fruit biryani. Now jack fruit is a particular trend in cooking and popular with my vegan friends. The dish was nice, good rice, delicately spiced and fragrant and there were large piece of jack’s fruit throughout. I liked it and could see why the almost meaty texture would appeal to no-meat eaters, well sort of. To be honest, it is mainly a texture thing, the actual fruit has to my mind little character when it comes to taste so not up there in my view but I am confident that my vegan friends will heartily disagree.

Oh yes, let’s not forget a particularly good raita, fresh and cooling, too good in fact to be deigned merely a side dish.

Finally packaging, how lovely to find everything delivered in a recyclable brown paper bag and cardboard pots rather than foil or plastic trays, well the biryani excepted which did come in plastic for some reason best know to them. It was all piping hot too so clearly care had been taken at every stage.

Price wise it comes in a little higher maybe than your local take-away but, and it’s a big but, it is very generous and of a very high quality and I will certainly indulge again.

Dishoom is available through Deliveroo.

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