The Caterer

Book review: Dishoom: From Bombay with love

19 September 2019 by
Book review: Dishoom: From Bombay with love

Dishoom: From Bombay with Love By Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar and Naved Nasir Bloomsbury, £26

"Bacon naan? Ho yes." It's unlikely the founders of Dishoom knew at the time how the words of then Metro reviewer Marina O'Loughlin, written in 2010 on their first site in London's Covent Garden, would sum up the feelings of so many customers at the Indian-inspired restaurant.

Nine years, seven restaurants and a Restaurateur of the Year – Group Catey later, the Dishoom boys (founders Shamil and Kavi Thakrar and executive chef Naved Nasir) reveal the secrets of the revered breakfast item in their first cookbook, Dishoom: From Bombay with Love.

Half of the book is made up of the recipes that have made Dishoom the success it is today. There are a total of eight chapters, including mid-morning snacks and third ‘dinner' chapters (first fish and seafood, then biryani, and the third is kebabs and grilled meats).

The other half of the book is a tour of the Bombay establishments, particularly the city's Irani cafés, that inspired Dishoom, whose restaurants are individually designed with a fictional story in mind. "We think of each restaurant as a vividly imagined and detailed love letter to Bombay," write the Thakrars, who spend months researching the area and era on which each restaurant is based. For instance, their Edinburgh restaurant has green stained-glass windows, inspired by Bombay's David Sassoon Library; while their original Covent Garden site was inspired by the city's Victoria Terminus and has a lookalike clock to the India-based original.

Recipes are straightforward to follow; it is, of course, a book for the masses. There is a useful section at the back that delves into the techniques for the sauces, stocks, breads and chutneys used across many of the recipes. Chefs may be interested in the more complex step-by-step instructions for samosa folding or paratha rolling.

The spiced kidney bean rajma went down a treat at my table, while the tea-marinated chickpea chole bhature is next on my hit list.

Dishoom: From Bombay with Love is a delightful read. Even if you're just after the secret of the bacon naan. Page 47.

By Katherine Price

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