Happy Diwali everyone! We visited the newly opened Dishoom in Shoreditch this weekend where they were celebrating Diwali with delicious home-cooked style food and activities which really got me in the mood for our upcoming trip to Bombay for our wedding.
Dishoom on Boundary Street [the second of its kind in London] pays loving homage to the Irani cafés that were once part of the fabric of life in Bombay. Opened early last century by Persian immigrants, there were almost four hundred of these cafés at their peak in the 1960s. Now fewer than thirty remain.
The space in Shoreditch is designed by Russel Sage Studio, the designers behind Zetter Town House, The Hospital Club and St. Paul’s Cathedral and feels more spacious and more like the colonial Country Clubs still in existence Bombay than its Covent Garden counterpart. This space encompasses a beautiful courtyard [which I am sure will be packed during the summer months] with tables and chairs leading to an airy bar space, bakery and café seating, and a kitchen dining room on the lower ground floor.
The attention to detail again was astounding – with family photographs and vintage advertising dotting the walls of the Art Deco style space and an array of oyster lamps, fans and vintage furniture cleverly placed throughout a deliberately unfinished backdrop – and my favourite witty detail, a brass tap placed low on the wall in every toilet cubicle [the humour of which only seasoned travellers to India will get].
Really injecting a sense of community and family – which i think will really make this Dishoom in the East End stand out were the magical Diwali celebrations enjoyed by East-End hipsters, young families and elders alike. The captivating master storyteller Vayu Naidu narrated the fabulous story of Rama, Sita and Hanuman. A tale of kidnapped princesses, daring and wonder, shape-shifting golden deer, chariots flying across skies, monkey gods leaping across oceans! And platefuls of compliemntary Ladoos were passed around with Chocolate Chai and sweet ladies preparing the traditional Indian digestive paan.
We finished off the evening with the kinds of cocktails that would have had currency in a pre-independence Bombay – Flips, Gimlets, Sours, Old Fashioneds and Juleps, and a groaning Diwali Feast [£28.50] consisting of Diwali Prosecco Punch, Pau Bhaji, Dahi Puri, Grilled Lobster Tail [deeeelicious], Chicken Berry Biriyani, Black Daal, Masala Chai, Pistachio Kulfis and Chocolate Barfi. Phew!
Author: Rohini Wahi
Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.
She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org