I’m shocked that Dishoom hasn’t set up shop in New York. This London institution serves some of the best Bombay-style Indian food in a romantic setting. The “Bombay Cafe” ambience is taken to the extreme so Dishoom feels almost like a themed restaurant, one you might find in Vegas hotel called “The Jewels of the British Empire.” But the food is off the charts good. So good I went back for seconds during my short stay in London.
There are spicy curries, the famous spice-rubbed lamb chops and delightful salads. There’s also an extensive breakfast menu if you fancy a delicious date porridge. At 4 pounds for a never-ending bowl it might be the best deal in London. That’s the thing about Dishoom, it’s actually affordable. With locations in King’s Cross, Shoreditch and Covent Garden they wouldn’t have a hard time charging double.
The drinks! My god the drinks! Get the house chai with every meal before 5 and after that go for an “Edwina’s Affair.” It’s one of those drinks that just about kills you. From the menu: The hush-hush love triangle of gin, rose and cardamom, in a secret garden of fresh mint, strewn with candied rose petals. Light, refreshing, captivating. 8.00. Obviously I’ll come up with a copycat recipe for that SOON.
One of the simplest dishes on the menu was my favorite: the gunpowder potatoes. Small potatoes, grilled and rubbed in spices with fresh herbs. Simple enough but truly revolutionary all the same. There appears to be a recipe online for these spuds but it’s got a long list of spices I wasn’t ready to invest in, plus I don’t have a grill. I improvised a bit with a cast-iron skillet and whole coriander seeds. You’ll notice my method for crushing spices is a bit unconventional. But it works. Just fill a small plastic bag with whole spices and aggressively smash a large object on top of it repeatedly. No spice grinder necessary.
1 lb. small Yukon gold potatoes or fingerlings (about 10 potatoes)
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped scallions (about 3 whole scallions)
3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dill seeds (you can leave these out if you can’t find them)
½ of a lime
- Boil 6 cups of water in a medium size pot, add the potatoes and a pinch of salt and boil for about 30 minutes until fully cooked (even a little soft). Drain and set aside to dry.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large cast-iron skillet.
- Add the cooked potatoes and cook for 5 minutes on each side, mashing with a spoon once or twice so they get a nice char.
- Add the coriander, cumin and dill seeds to a plastic bag and use a heavy object like a jar of jam to smash them. You can also pulse in a spice grinder but you don’t want a fine powder, just to break up the pods.
- Add another tablespoon of butter and toast the spices in the center of the pan for two minutes. Add the chopped cilantro and scallions, a pinch of salt and stir. Squeeze the lime on top and serve the potatoes on their own or with greek yogurt and mint chutney.