Brunch Club: Dishoom, N1C
The fifth Brunch Club gathering took place on 19th February 2017 at Dishoom King’s Cross, 5 Stable Street, London N1C 4AB. This was originally booked for a gathering in 2016 but, as only three out of four Brunch Clubbers were in attendance that day, we decided to re-book and review it in 2017. We were all very excited to dig into Dishoom‘s very special take on breakfast.
Ed: Lou and I were there way before the booking and I was very keen to get stuck into the chai. What a delicious and wonderful brew! Perfectly spiced and flavoursome, served in a good sized glass. This was so delicious and really sets the tone for the rest of your meal there, everything is going to be well prepared and authentic. (sorry I got carried away! IT WAS SO GOOD!)
Eleanor: I had a cafe latte as they didn’t offer my usual flat white, it was quite milky but just what I needed as I was a tad hungover…
Lou: As Ed and I arrived early we opted for some of the chai – but I will leave the review to Ed!
Lori: Green Darjeeling. The tea was loose leaf in a shiny silver pot with a strainer for the gorgeous blue and white cup and saucer. It tasted as delicious as it looked.
WHAT WE HAD
Ed: I opted for the egg naan roll, with masala beans on the side. And oh my goodness, what a delicious combination. The runny egg and the soft naan are a perfect combo. The masala beans were delicious too, not overly spiced at all, just at that right level of flavour. The only draw back was I wanted another naan on the plate! After this I had a Bun Maska which was another glass of lovely chai with a brioche-like bun toasted, buttered and chopped into soldiers for dunking in the chai. It was SO SO GOOD. The bun with the butter mixing with the spices of the chai was HEAVENLY!
Eleanor: For my main I had the bacon and egg naan roll which was DIVINE. The naan is cooked traditionally and has cream cheese, chilli jam and chutney it in. I could eat these everyday. The naan is so soft and the yolks were perfectly runny and the bacon, meaty and delicious. I paired this with a fresh orange juice which was refreshing and finished in no time.
Eleanor (cont’d): For second course, I shared the house porridge and fruit and yogurt with Lori, which was an excellent plan. The porridge is spicy and warm and filling. The yogurt was vanilla-flavoured (with seeds visible) and very creamy but still yogurty and delicious. I paired this with their house chai which took me back ten years to drinking chai in Indian train stations on my ‘gap yah’. I finished my meal with another coffee and felt incredibly full and satisfied.
Lou: I opted for a sausage and egg naan which was just amazing – the sausages at Dishoom are something else, meaty and perfectly spiced. And can I just do an honourable mention for the tomato Chutney that accompanies the naaan – just amazing. My second course was some of the ‘fire toast’ charred bread served with amazing marmalade and sweet chutney – and as you might expect, incredible spice (chilli, garam masala, star anise and black pepper in the mix). My only minor quibble with the Fire Toast is that it needed more butter, so you might need to ask for more. And in addition to the chai I had an assam breakfast tea and finished off with a chocolate chai which was honestly heaven in a glass – if you go, have the chocolate chai. You won’t regret it.
Lori: I went for The Big Bombay without the buns and, having seen this dish arrive at an adjacent table, asked for no coriander on top. I don’t mind coriander leaves cooked or marinated, but fresh they just taste like soap to me. This meant that my dish wasn’t very photogenic when it arrived, but boy was it tasty! As Lou says, the sausages are spectacular, and utterly delicious slathered in masala beans. For “Brunch Pudding”, Eleanor and I ordered the porridge plus fruit & yoghurt with a plan to share. When it arrived, we’d been given the granola instead (same fruit & yoghurt, but with extra crunch), however, it was so tasty that we didn’t mind the error. I could have eaten more of that porridge if I hadn’t been so full (it is a never-ending portion), but I did have room for a cocktail. It was past midday by that point and Dishoom do some amazing tipples. The Chai Paanch was everything I dreamed it would be, and more.
Eleanor: No waffles, but not expected.
WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?
Ed: Someone’s impending wedding might have come up again…! Honeymoons, Lou and I had a bit of a chinwag about themed restaurants, authenticity and Disney. Lori showed me a lovely picture of a used tea bag which I was to write a poem about…
Eleanor: Hen dos, all inclusive holidays, Drag Race (unsurprisingly), the mechanics behind reality TV, formalwear, tattoos, future Brunch Club plans…
Lou: Ed and I had a good chat about the symbolism in Victorian cemeteries following Ed’s wander around Highgate Cemetery.
Lori: Lots of chat about formal attire, honeymoon/pre-wedding plans and, of course, Drag Race. I mentioned my creative writing short course and how the tutor had said you can write lyrically about anything… like the teabag sat in the lid of her takeaway cup. I challenged Ed to write a poem on it. Seeing as he adores tea and is a poet, I thought it’d be his bag (fnar).
SERVICE, ATMOSPHERE, TOILET STANDARDS/QUIRKS
Ed: What an amazing place! The theming was pretty great, with a really lovely amount of detail into the tables and fixtures in the place, really great atmosphere. I was disproportionately affected by the slow strobe of the fan and light which meant I had to move. I did feel the service was slightly patchy, it’s a small thing, but the chap who delivered my food didn’t really light up my morning with his enthusiasm. We were approached by a few house managers to check on us though (no doubt we were identified as long term residents…!) and got a few thank yous and goodbyes as we were leaving. So the Toilets….! They were something else, the railway station theme continued. Huge wooden toilet seats! I’m not at all a fan of a urinal, but they had these massive ones which were almost elegant which I was impressed by! Loved the fact that all all this vintage themed stuff alongside proper modern powerful hand dryers!
Eleanor: This place is HUGE! Spread over four floors each different area had a different feel. Our table was tucked out of the way. It was a tad cosy and frustratingly had a fan in front of the light above us so there was a constant flickering which you got used to. The toilets were an epic trip but very lovely. Service was good, we were left to ourselves mainly and they kindly checked in for the last call for breakfast orders.
Lou: Dishoom Kings Cross has a railway theme (unsurprisingly) and by noon had a queue out of the door. It’s popular for a reason – buzzing vibe and excellent food.
Lori: We went to Dishoom before, but Eleanor couldn’t make it so we scratched it off the review list and vowed to return with a full team. That time we had a bright spacious booth upstairs and I was looking forward to a similarly relaxed experience. When I turned up this time, the person on the front desk had trouble locating the booking which wasn’t a good start. Once I finally found the table, I was horrified to discover that we were sat in a dark corner on small wooden chairs with nowhere to hang our coats, next to a large table with small children. Thankfully, once I’d settled into this not being what I was expecting, I did cheer up. The tea and good company helped… plus the kids were quiet and well behaved. I’d definitely recommend booking in before 11am though, as there was a queue when we left.
Ed: Straight back to Muswell for a foodshop, bit of a walk through the woods on the way.
Eleanor: A nap!
Lou: More tea and cake with friends.
Lori: I went to the V&A to catch the Records & Rebels exhibition in its last few days.
Ed: Really really fantastic food, memorable experience, would like to try an evening meal here, definitely need to book ahead. Great for brunch if you’re in London for a special weekend and staying nearby or getting the train back afterwards.
Chai-Ku (a chai Haiku):
Ginger Cardamom Clove Milk
Eleanor: Just lovely. I want to go back for an evening meal. I might make a special early trip next time I’m getting a train out of King’s Cross or St Pancras for one of the naan rolls…
Lou: It’s worth booking a table. Although walk ups are accepted all day, breakfast only runs to 11:45am.
Lori: This place can bring cheer to the most dull of days with its charming decor and splendid food/drinks.
The image of Dishoom King’s Cross at the top of this post is via Tatler.com. All other images were snapped by Brunch Club members on their phones, so excuse any blurriness as we were all rather excited about eating the food.