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London to enjoy Indian summer

London’s first Bombay café is set to open this July in Covent Garden.

Dishoom, in St Martin’s Lane, is a collaboration between friends and businessmen Adarsh Radia, Amar Radia and Shamil Thakrar along withbar and restaurant consultants Gorgeous Group, and aims to bring a touch of Bombay café culture to the West End.

Spread over two floors, the venue will seat 150 people, with an additional outside seating area for 20 covers.

Designed to be “fun and informal”, Dishoom will provide breakfasts, lunches, evening cocktails and suppers, with dishes inspired by south Bombay’s street grills and food stalls with a London twist.

Bombay’s famous Thums Up cola heads up the drinks menu along with tea, chai mojitos and hot toddies.

Only one curry will be served each day, meaning customers are encouraged to look at and try the array of other Indian food on offer, such as salads, kebabs, fish tikka and chilli cheese toast.

The café has opted for a look of faded elegance, with checkerboard tiles, dark wood panelling and sepia family portraits on the walls, courtesy of interior designer Afroditi Krassa. The retro feel continues with ceiling fans, mismatched chairs, banquette seating and marble-topped tables.

The name of the restuarant is supposed to reflect the sound made by Bollywood actors when they land a successful on-screen punch.

With its design and menu, Dishoom hopes to capture the spirit of the original venues, which were also known as Irani cafés after the Persian immigrants who opened them in the first half of the twentieth century.

They served as teahouses for people from all walks of life to meet and eat. Bombay cafés reached a peak in popularity during the 1950s when there were nearly 400 in the city. Today that number has dropped to only 25.

Dishoom will be open 8am until late on Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 11.30pm on Sunday.

12 Upper St Martin’s Lane
London WC2 9EF

Rupert Millar, 11.05.2010

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