Restaurant review - Dishoom, Manchester
- Credit: Archant
Dishoom on Bridge Street, Manchester combines the flavours and ambiance of the old Irani cafes with a huge helping of style. Janet Reeder
The inspiration behind Dishoom are the old Irani cafes of Bombay, which were opened by Zoroastrian immigrants in the last century, where hot strong tea was served alongside the freshly baked samosas and puris.
These cafes were pretty basic by all accounts and probably wouldn’t have sold cocktails and champagnes but Dishoom still has an authentic colonial vibe that enchants, even before you’ve taken a look at the menu.
The restaurant is another London ‘import’ but don’t let that put you off. It’s part of the revamped Manchester Freemason’s Hall and the one thing that strikes you is that it’s big. It’s divided into areas and you feel like you’re being led further and further into a mysterious inner sanctum. The front desk is fragrant with the smell of incense. The first room at the front would be the perfect spot for a Dishoom breakfast then as you delve deeper there’s the permit room, where you can imbibe a tipple or two.
I’ve been in a real permit room which is a darkened space usually populated by desperate men who have been sanctioned to drink alcohol for ‘health reasons’ but thankfully this is nothing like one of those gloomy spaces. In fact the entire restaurant feels expensively turned out with its wood panels and marble topped tables, large bars sparkling with bottles varieties of spirits and lovely restored stained glass windows.
Our waitress explained the menu which includes the now ubiquitous small plates as well as grills and some curries.
We ordered Bhel, £4.50, which is a crunchy salad affair with Bombay mix, puffed rice, tomato onion, tamarind, mint and little pops of fruity pomegranate. Prawn Koliwada, £6.50, is as good if not better than the prawns tasted on our recent trip to Bhubaneswar in Orissa, with a light batter coating and plenty of punchy spice . Paneer tikka, £8.20, is fresh and soft with a hit of chilli while spicy lamb chops (£4.30 each) are moist juicy, hot and zesty. A side of grilled broccoli, snow peas and spinach, £3.90, heightened by lime and garlic and another of crisped coated fried chillies, £4.20, transform our few dishes into a feast.
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There’s nothing here we don’t like. The Mojito, £8, is superb and a glass of Joseph Perrier champagne, £11, goes well with spiced food. Our puddings an indulgent chocolate pudding, £6.90, and creamy kulfi on a stick, £3.70, are well worth the calories. The service is excellent and the prices are reasonable for food that’s never less than interesting. Weekends are busy with most of the 200 plus tables selling like hotcakes. Book if you want to avoid disappointment, as they say.
2 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BT
0161 537 3737, dishoom.com.