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Dum Biryani House

Restaurants, Indian Soho
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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An Indian restaurant specialising in dum biryani.

Set in a basement behind a drab, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it door on Wardour Street, stepping into this colourful little Indian restaurant is a nice surprise. Well lit and spacious, with edgy concrete flooring, the vibe at Dum Biryani is brilliantly quirky: think vintage-style posters with taglines like ‘Oops, I burnt the rotis!’ and a playlist that’s pretty much back-to-back Notorious B.I.G.’s greatest hits. It’s fun.

It’s even more fun once they start bringing out the exceptional ‘snacks’. Cool yoghurt patties were followed by sticky, fiercely-spiced, ginger-strewn chicken wings and, my personal favourite, a creamy prawn ‘fry’ curry, topped with grated fresh coconut. Another highlight was a rich paya shorba – a complex and moreish pig’s trotter soup that came with a whole foot cooked into its thin, fiery broth.

It’s a real shame, then, that what let this place down were the biryanis themselves. A ‘dum’ biryani is one cooked, Hyderabadi-style, in a pot sealed with dough, so the meat and rice steam together very slowly, making it moist and more flavourful. Yet my one-pot-wonder – the chicken drumstick version – came unpleasantly dry, with a peculiar sour edge. I’d happily go here again just to order every snack on the menu though. Hell, I’d go for that playlist.


Address: 187B Wardour St
Transport: Tube: Oxford Circus
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £90.
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