In that brief moment as you step through the front door, you will feel a bit confused as you have to remind yourself why you are there. The strong and distinct Colonial British thematic decor makes you want to get your camera out for a selfie. The coherence in style almost makes it feel like you are in a movie set, while the large vaulted ceilings, clock and bustling noise could make you think you arrived at a train station. This is quickly forgotten however, as the forty-five minutes queue to get here, has your tummy grumbling for food and you start looking around for that empty table that has your name on it.
Being seated at the lounge was perfect for that slightly hungover, it is a bit too early to be active on a Sunday feeling. Sitting on the sofa overlooking the bar and restaurant, it seemed like the whole world was passing you by, but it is just the waiters and patrons walking around in what is a fairly large restaurant.
Getting down to business, you focus on the menu. You would be forgiven for not wrapping your head around it, there is 4 columns and a few rows, wait what happened to that spreadsheet you were working on earlier in the week? Your mind wanders, the menu is a bit too much effort for you to understand right now and you let your friends do the ordering while you look out onto the restaurant again. You start noticing that all the waiters are westerns and happily moving about the restaurant with a lot of energy.
I got to try three different starters; okra fries, spiced lamb keema, and chili cheese toast. First let’s be honest about the chili cheese toast, it is cheese on toast put in the oven! While the menu might say it is a Bombay standard, it definitely is not resturant standard for me. I would stick to the cheese on toast you can make at home. The buttered pau bun that came with the lamb spiced keema had a subtle hint of sweetness and fresh, but that is about as far as my love for this dish does. The lamb was not as rich in flavour as you might come to expect from Indian food, and the meat was boiled rather than fried making the dish rather tasteless.
The saviour to the starters was the Okra fries, it had this really nice crunchy feel to it when you pick it up with your hands, and then when you bite into it, there is this contrast with the soft moist lady finger center that simply must be tried.
We went quite conservative with ordering in of the mains and got the garlic naan, chicken briyani, ruby curry and chloe bhatura (which I did not try much of, nor particularly fancied when I had a small taste).
The garlic naan was nothing special, a little crisper than I would like and a stronger garlic flavour would have come a long way in my book. Though it did taste great when I dipped it in the ruby curry, which overall was probably the best dish of the meal. The ruby curry came in this great thick curry sauce, that had a great depth of flavours. It was smooth, and non intrusive but still had a great flavour palette of tomato and perhaps paprika.
The chicken briyani had a few big pieces of chicken at the bottom which was a very welcomed addition, and a few cranberries to add sweetness rather than the more typical raisins. It was a bit dry in my opinion and had to add some of that nice ruby curry to make it go down well. Probably better off getting a rice and curry dish separately for around the same price if you ever do end up here.
Our waiter was an easy going guy, and even sounded pretty smart when he explained these Indian dishes to us. Although I am not sure we share the same humor as he tried to be funny by saying “where is your contactless card duuude???” while I handed him my card to pay. I just wanted to say just take my money and let me leave.
The starters did take a while to arrive, but the mains did follow promptly which definitely helped keep our appetites for the mains.
Overall, I did quite enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant. Sitting on the sofa was great, it made me feel relaxed and tune out from the high volume of people and noise that surrounded the restaurant. But what is great amptoshpher without great food, and unfortunately the food was a bit of a let down. The Okra fries and ruby curries were simple beauties, but the blandness of the other dishes I tried really prevent me for giving high praise to the food at Dishroom. At the end of the day, the answer to the question below says it all.
Would I happily go again? No
- Best Dish = Ruby Chicken
- Food = 5/10
- Value for money = 7/10 (£18 final bill)
- Uniqueness = 7/10
Date of Last Visit: 26 January 2016, King’s Cross Branch
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