Dishoom Chowpatty Beach, A Sneak Preview. Queen Elizabeth Hall Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Last week we were delighted and honoured to be given a sneak preview of Dishoom’s Chowpatty Beach pop up on the Southbank, it’s part of the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Britain’s 60th anniversary celebrations with MasterCard. We have been beyond excited about the launch since we first heard about it and it’s only a few minutes away from our offices too. Dishoom’s main home is located on St Martin’s Lane’s, Covent Garden, which feels miles away when you’re on the wrong side of the river.
Chowpatty Beach pop up has been described by the owners as ‘Dishoom on an acid trip’, and ‘Dishoom on a summer holiday’. It really is both, and more. They have created bright orange and yellow walls made from recycled pallets painted to mimic a Bombay sunset. The grey dreariness and square angular design of the Royal Festival Hall building helps Chowpatty Beach stand out, as do the fantastic remote-controlled colour changing lights which we got to play with. Ade now wants them all over the house. The Dishoom boys were even keen on using tweets to change the light’s colour… how cool would that be? Imagine standing on the north side of the Thames and tweeting ‘red’ to watch Chowpatty Beach pop up change colour! Amazing…
The menu has been stripped back to reflect the summery feel, gorgeous new additions, the Bhel was my favourite, it is the perfect bar snack; puffed rice, pomegranate and chutney, a true explosion of flavours. A bit like a jazzed up, fresher Bombay Mix.
Ade’s favourite was the Vada Pau, a Bombay chip butty! Think fried potatoes in a bun with homemade chilli chutneys, again, perfect for a bar snack, or for lunch. The Dishoom Frankie (freshly baked naan filled with spicy lamb mince) surprised me, lamb is my least favourite meat, so I was a bit wary about trying it, but it was lovely, the ginger really helped give the lamb a lift.
You can still find the favourites, such as my beloved Dishoom Calamari and the Bacon Naan Roll.
Oh and the Naughty Golas, I loved my Kala Khatta, the original Bombay Gola, with hints of blackcurrant. Ade’s Strawberries & Cream Gola would be a great replacement for a dessert, it’s very sweet made with condensed milk and Pampero rum. The Bombay Pimm’s was great too, perhaps because it’s made with Saffron Gin, Pimm’s, pomegranate, orange, mint and lashings of ginger beer – far too easy to knock back!
Back to the design bit, Dishoom have used recycled colourful carrier bags for the walkway, the bar is made from recycled plastic bottles, old railways sleepers have been used on the terrace for seating, there are even tyres with flowers in. They explained that this was what they call jugaad, meaning ‘make do’ or using what’s around you, or what’s been discarded and making good of it. We are great believers in this, but don’t do it as well as Dishoom.
Dishoom is the only restaurant that we know, where we like every single thing on the menu, and so does everyone we’ve bought there. An astounding achievement.
The owners have had such a brilliant time creating it, and in only four weeks, it’s incredible, we wish it could stay there forever. Although probably better for our bellies and wallets that it doesn’t.
We told the amazingingly talented photographer Paul Winch Furness about Dishoom and Chowpatty Beach, he came along and took some beautiful photos. They are a hell of a lot better than ours! Click here to see the entire set.
For more on Dishoom, see our other blog post http://welovefood-itsallweeat.com/2010/12/31/dishoom-12-upper-st-martin%E2%80%99s-lane-london-wc2h-9fb/
Monday – Thursday: noon – midnight
Friday: noon – 1am
Saturday: 10am –1am
Sunday: 10am – midnight