Dishoom has been a contemporary London success story since the original launched in 2010 near Covent Garden. It draws on the idea of the Irani café, like those in Bombay opened by Iranian immigrants back in the day. There used to be hundreds in that city but they have faded away since the 1960s so Dishoom itself is an exercise in Indo-nostalgia, presented as a concept eatery for the 21st century.
It’s popular though; the clientele likes it for the friendly service and the fine flavours. There are now four London branches and the company ventured to Edinburgh in late 2016, to the none-more-central St Andrew Square, where the size of the establishment (it holds up to 140 diners) and chunky, dark wood décor makes it feel like the first step in a UK-wide franchise waiting to happen. Tables for fewer than six can’t be reserved in the evening but given the sheer capacity here that shouldn’t be a problem.
On the menu there is everything from fried eggs on chilli cheese toast or a bacon naan roll at breakfast to familiar – and unfamiliar – curries and sides later in the day. Its signature black house daal is pretty fabulous while the masala prawns dish also has its fans.