Popular Indian restaurant chain Dishoom has landed in Kensington – and this stylish outpost is a tribute to Bombay’s lively 1930s jazz age. It certainly delivers on atmosphere, featuring sumptuous art deco interiors, extravagant brass embellishments, wall-mounted photos of jazz icons and a swinging soundtrack (available to buy). On the Tuesday evening of my visit, most of the colourful booths and smaller wooden tables were packed out, and the service was polite, attentive and swift.
The all-day menu includes the usual favourites – breakfast rolls, Bombay café-style small plates and cocktails. The food was, as ever, flavour-packed. The pau bhaji – a spiced vegetable mix with accompanying butter-soaked buns – offered a tangy but comforting start. Next up came the bedmi puri (deep-fried lentil-stuffed bread with a ferocious potato, chickpea and paneer curry), which was enjoyable, but should really come with a spice warning. The lamb sheekh kabab (£8.20) was juicy and gently seasoned, and easily improved with the table chutneys. I mopped up the signature butter-rich black daal with the roomali roti (literal translation: handkerchief bread). This thin roti is a sight to behold: they throw it and stretch it to an incredible size, yet when it arrives at the table it’s folded into a deceptively small rectangle – unravel and witness its springiness when you tear and share.
Save space for dessert because the melt-in-the-middle chocolate pudding was irresistibly gooey. Paired with the accompanying chilli ice cream – even if the heat from the chilli catches the back of the throat every time – it’s a winning combo that thrashes the Memsahib’s Mess (Dishoom’s take on Eton mess) in the battle of the best.