Sunday, June 26, 2016

London 2015 Day 32: Dishoom

London 2015 Day 32: Dishoom

Today was a holiday but I went in to go use the computers and take care of a bunch of errands, including booking train tickets for the NEXT time I'd be in England... after my sister's wedding later in the year! I stayed for a long while, chatting with Ruggero and WaiKit who were in the office. (Secretly -- though of course at the time of writing up this blog post (6/26/2016) this is well known -- I spent all day researching Jewelery designers in San Francisco and emailing to set up meetings for when I got back to SF, and started finding inspiration designs for the engagement ring I was custom designing for Michal! Notes on that here:

After all day working on the ring design, I headed out in the evening to check out Royal Mile Whiskies once more and get Michal a gift of the Elderflower Gin she loves. I also went back to The Vintage House just to check it out :)

Only £18,000!

Amazing bottles
And then, finally, to the legendary Dishoom indian restaurant in Covent Garden!!!! I had heard SO much about this place and finally had a chance to visit. They said it was a 1 hr 20 min line?! Oof. The people in the front of the line said it was only 45 min... and I figured I'd just give it a shot. I was so glad that I did. Turns out this was actually only the line to get into the bar, and then you'd have to wait even longer once you got inside?!?! What a popular spot. I had a secret weapon though... I was dining just by myself, so I figured it might be faster. "Sir, you were told it would be 1 hr 20 min? A table just opened up, you have only waited 33 minutes. Would you like it?" Um... YUP!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so glad I went and braved the line. It was such an epic spot. "Life-changing curry!!!" I just went with exactly what the waiter suggested. I was so excited about the food I was prolifically Facebook posting every single thing and ranting and raving about each item as it arrived. (Posting thanks to their hilariously-named WiFi network, "ChaiFi"! haha, win.)

First up was a Mango and Fennel Lassi. At first sip I though, oh, this food is gonna ROCK. The Lassi itself was nothing out of the ordinary, good, and a little different with the fennel seeds.

Next up was Keema Pau - a spiced lamb with peas, served on a "Pau" bun (a little bit like a "Bao"). It was very tasty. So well spiced, and I forgot that it was lamb at first! It was not too spicy, just right, and the Lime squeezed on there was an excellent addition, adding a nice tang. The buns were for dipping and were very good, and I was definitely grateful for the fork and spoon to help!

And then, the piece-de-resistance... the Chicken Ruby. O. M. G.... you guys. This was NUTS. I got Roomali Roti to go with it, chewy and soft, yes also stretchy and stable for grabbing and wrapping a piece of epic chicken and dipping in the BEST SAUCE OF ALL TIME. This photo hardly does this justice. This was earth-shatteringly awesome.

They was by and far the BEST curry I have *ever* tried. Somewhat like a Chicken Tikka Masala but a little sweeter, spicier, more interesting and exotic flavouring. A sea of flavour! It was so surprising, with every single bite a different experience. Roomali Rolls were also an excellent suggestion, the chewiness mixed with the incredible sauce was just completely out of this world. This was the best.

Some jerk had said that I should skip Dishoom cause it was overrated, "Go to Brick Lane, it's better"... yeah right. I sincerely doubt it. This place was actually perfect. Even their "standard" sauces (the ones you tend to get at the start of an Indian meal) had a really amazing twist to them. The Tamarind was not overly sweet like usual, and had a spicier finish. The mint sauce also was more subtle than what a restaurant usually serves you, with a better and less chunky texture. Not as "minty" as I've had before. This particular sauce is usually a bit overpowering, but this specific remix of it was not. The 3rd one was some sort of Chutney. Good, but not epic. This made me laugh, the same as any Indian place I feel like I've ever been to, I usually just like Sauces #1 and #2 and not #3. :)

From my Facebook post that night: "This was by and far the best damn curry I've ever had. Chicken Ruby, as I told my excellent waiter, Nazmul, was "life changing curry". Like tikka masala but so so so different and an explosion of awesome. With wraps that tasted like pure magic. I also had another one which was ground lamb and peas, served with buns-- a ridiculously epic flavour. Ugggghh. Definitely ordering desert."

As I was eating and enjoying the heck out of this meal, I was Social Networking like a madman, taking photos and posting them and waxing poetically about this life-changing curry. I struck up a conversation with a waiter and he gave me futher great recommendations for dessert."Would you like dessert?"... "Um.... YUPPPP!" I got the House Chai, which was spice and good. Again, not overly sweet like it often is. I also got a fun dessert called "Memsahib's Mess", Dishoom's play on the famous English dessert "Eton Mess". Yes!!! It was strawberries and cream, with crushed meringue and rose syrup... oh mercy me this was all amazing.

The dessert was the sweetest part of the meal (as it ought to be!) Much different than the usual Indian restaurant experience, on all counts. The dessert was amazing, very smooth, not overly rich, and a very nice and good balance with the spicy/not sweet chai.

I continued to take photos of everything like a true Millennial (I guess I still count as one of those?!) and at some point a manager came over to introduce herself. She was very friendly and pitched for me to encourage the entire office to come here for an event (I tell you, that's a very easy sell!) When I said I was leaving the country soon, she said, "Oh, you can't come to Dishoom and not try the breakfast!" and she presented me with a Free Breakfast Card for an Egg Naan Roll!!!! OMG!!!! Could this day get any better!!

From my Facebook post that night:
"And to top it off-- epic crushed meringue and strawberry and rose. Ughghh. And house chai. Then told the manager this place is life changing, and got a frickin free breakfast card! OMG"

Tomorrow is technically the last day I can do that, so I guess I'm coming back tomorrow for breakfast! Done! I was full and could not possibly be more satisfied.

Even as I was leaving, the line looked just as long as it was when I arrived. What an amazing place. Highly, highly recommended.

After a big dinner I wanted to take a long walk home. I walked on Park Lane (fancy) to a hotel called The Athenaeum. It was recommended in some articles as a good whisky bar in the city and so I figured I'd check it out. In the image of the place it seemed like the might have the old (pre-bottle design change) Glenmorangie Burgundy Cask... but alas they did not. The dude was actually not super knowledgeable about Whisky... I suppose I have been more than spoiled on this trip, given all the amazing whisky spots I have been to! They did have lots of selection, although. I tried the standard Linkwood, after such an astounding performance of the Linkwood special cask at the SoHo Whisky was pretty good! Chill, pretty soft flavour, not offensive in any way but not overly interesting. A fun little aside though to go to this bar on the way back. Some janked dude across the way in the bar was hitting on the waitress (sortof?) and failing miserably. Weird. The dude seemed to want to yap with someone, but, yeah... seemed an awkward situation at best. Defintely not getting sucked into this conversation! I'm out!

Home from here and it was 10:51pm... gotta pack and (try) to make Rosemary Lemon Zest short bread for "The Great ILM Bake Off" baked good event we were going to have the next day.

(Comments courtesy of my Facebook wall posts that night)

And so begins my attempt to make lemon Rosemary shortbread for peeps at work, instead of packing up my apartment

Instruction 1: in the stand mixer... Let me stop you there.

Instruction 2: mix together 3/4 cup... Uh... That looks about right

Update: butter and sugar are everywhere 
crud. It looks like a pie. A butter pie! Wish me luck...

Things that I now know, from personal experience, that are most often underestimated in complexity:

1) Software Engineering
2) Filmmaking
3) Attempting to bake anything in a kitchen that is not your own without measuring instruments, in a foreign country, with flour, butter, and sugar brands you've never heard of.

I hope I don't poison my colleagues,
Mike :)

Sweet glory of glories-- this may have actually worked

Looks golden brown-enough to me! Smells right... If this crumbles or tastes bad, I can always cover it in heavy cream right?!

My Mom then commented "You made this WITHOUT Michal's help!" and I replied "I know, I am crazy!"

Haha so this was quite an experience. I had attempted to make shortbread but I had instead made a pie. A butter pie! I left it in the oven a bit longer, trying to firm it up... it looks... OK. Hopefully not TOO terrible tomorrow.

Then, at midnight, I rallied and packed most of my stuff. Lots of delicate things and whisky bottles, so it took a while. Nice that most of my clothes were already clean and folded!

No comments: