Every now and again going down your local curry house won’t do. Not because you don’t love it, but because you’re either too lazy to move off the sofa or you want to zhuzh things up a bit. More likely than not, in these two situations, you’re going to turn to one of the two D’s: Deliveroo or Dishoom. The former brings local to you and the latter is working hard to become local to everyone, with six locations and world domination looming. Don’t get us wrong, we really like Dishoom. It’s just that it’s not the only Indian restaurant in London worth going to. So next time somebody inevitably says “how about Dishoom?”, try putting one of these places into the mix instead.
Imagine somewhere Soho-based that is a) old-school Indian food done well b) laidback, modern and somewhere you can relax in and c) not Dishoom. Well, you’re now imagining Dum Biryani. This is one of two alternative no brainers when a mate is suggesting going to a place that the rest of London’s 9 million population is thinking of going to. Go here instead.
Imagine somewhere Soho-based that is a) old-school Indian food done well b) laidback, modern and somewhere you can relax in, and c) not Dishoom or Dum Biriyani. Well, this time you’re imaging Darjeeling Express. This place is a little more upmarket to Dum Biryani and closer to Dishoom price-wise, only you can book. This is homestyle Indian cooking that’s been tarted up and set-up in Soho. It’s delicious and it deserves to be thought of alongside the other D.
Remember in The Sims when, after typing ‘rosebud’ several thousand times and hammering the enter key, you were rich beyond your wildest dreams? Just like that, your virtual life got a whole lot more fun. A pool table? Why not. Ooh this whisky vending machine looks fun. That wall appears to be missing a giant television. There we go. Now to have a BBQ next to my 100 ft pool. Brigadiers is this in restaurant form. It has all of these things, minus the pool, but plus the best tandoori lamb chops in London. Once you’re here it’s your whole day or night. There’s no point making any other plans, because you won’t stick to them.
It’s your parents’ 40th anniversary. Your dad wants a ruby for the ruby and your mum wants somewhere ‘special but comfortable’. Your sibling pipes up saying ’the bacon ’n egg breakfast naan at Dishoom is meant to be banging!’. An anniversary breakfast? You may as well call the family solicitor now. Make a reservation at Bombay Bustle instead. This is a classic curry house of the Mayfair variety. It’s upmarket, innit. The restaurant is themed to be like a first class dining carriage on a Mumbai train, so book a gleaming booth and invite yourself along as well.
You and a couple of friends are planning a birthday meal for one of your group. How about Disho… NO! Do you really want to stand outside for ninety minutes hoping that hour in the pub keeps everyone in good spirits? Head to Tayyabs instead. This is a Punjabi institution in Whitechapel made for celebrations. It’s been giving people what they want for almost 50 years, so who are you to stop them now? It’s a place where you can be as loud as you like and drink as much as you like (it’s BYOB). Make sure to order their famous lamb chops.
Sometimes you’re not looking to impress your dad or sate his fortnightly desire for sag aloo and prawn bhuna. Sometimes you just want something a bit different. That something is definitely Gunpowder. This inventive sharing plates restaurant isn’t your run of the mill stuff. It’s the sort of place you can get a curried venison filled doughnut that will make you think differently about, well, doughnuts and curry. If you’re the type to get annoyed about an East London location and a ‘different’ approach, don’t be. This is food you’ll be wanting weekly.