SO wham-bam is the whole Dishoom experience that we whoosh through Keema Pau rolls, swoop onto Chole Puri and Murgh Malai and then suddenly, it seems, we’re squeezed back down the stairs and are fired out on the street.

How long were we actually in there, I ask Joe, as we walk by the never-ending queue marshalled by those clipboard wielding restaurant ring-masters.

Umm, he says, as I look down at the almost £100 receipt searching for timing clues. The end was certainly table-turning fast. We had just finished that gooey chocolate pudding, were still talking about why anyone would put chilli in bloody ice-cream, had glanced down and realised the plate had already been cleared. Uh-oh.

This had triggered a passing floor-walker’s head to swivel, eyes to lock, and then whistle up the bill so damn fast it was borderline rude.

All of this taking place amid apparently limitless numbers of waiting staff zipping here, there, and everywhere. Customers bustling and jostling, talking and laughing and the whole place going like a full-fat bazaar.

Earlier, we’d picked our way through juicy hunks of chicken thigh in that Murgh Malai (£10.50), the meat still slightly pink, the creamy, garlicky, coriander-infused marinade having seeped right into it when a passing waitress swooped for the platter.

Hang on, I’d said. There’s still one bit left. By then we had not only filled buttery rolls with spiced, pea-studded minced lamb Keema (£6.90), eaten them whilst commenting how good they were, but couldn’t stop scooping up the remnants with the serving spoon before it too disappeared.

Those little nuggetty Prawn Koliwada things, then: tangy, crispy, totally ordinary prawns really, but still polished off like the pricey and more-ish £8.50 snack they are clearly designed to be.

At what point the Chole Puri arrived, I can’t rightly say now, but everything came to the table so promptly after ordering that I mentioned it out loud at the time. Those puri were puffed like mini edible frisbees, the spiced dish of chickpea full of deep, crumbly flavour, powdered halva alongside that and a few caramelised carrots thrown in for plucking up and polishing off too.

This was one of those platters (£13.50) that had a culinary magnetism about it. Drawing our attention away from whatever else we were trying when it suddenly arrived.

The undisputed tractor-beam of the meal, though, was those lamb chops. Big, plump very meaty chops too, providing whole mouthfuls of lush uninterrupted tenderness, punctuated by lime, lamb, and punchy spices. At £15.90 for two chops, pretty much served on their own, where you could get a big platter of mini-chops for that in Glasgow? Great money, if you can get it.

Now, such has been the popularity of Dishoom – yet another English chain – that it has taken me literally six months to get my head round the concept of queuing just to eat in here.

And yet, as soon as I sit down and look at the menu, so much seems familiar. House black daal, those Koliwada, tea-steeped flavours, I’ve eaten similar elsewhere recently.

I realise Dishoom has become such a rip-roaring success that it has already been copied by so many of those new street food restaurants suddenly popping up everywhere. Understandably, because when it comes to spicing this is a culinary high-wire operation, full of face-slappingly fresh flavours.

All good though? The Khichia with chutney at £3.20, laughably ordinary, and those £4.10 Sharbats, watermelon and passionfruit coolers? Ice-crammed glasses containing a couple of mouthfuls of pretty ordinary flavoured waters to me.

The accountants must be rolling around like those robots in the old Smash adverts every time they’re ordered. I will say this, though. It turns out that even though it felt like a hustled meal, it wasn’t. We were actually in the restaurant for just over two hours.

Long enough to conclude Dishoom has definitely got something.


3A St Andrews Square


0131 202 6406

Menu: Super-fashionable Bombay style street cafe vibe. Murgh Malais, bhels, chole puris and many interesting and artful dishes. 4/5

Service: There’s a constant queue at the door and they don’t hang around. Everything is done fast and efficiently and pleasantly enough. 3/5

Atmosphere: So busy and crammed with human bazaar vibe that the decor is almost irrelevant. An interesting place to be. 5/5

Price: Primo spot on St Andrews Square, so plenty of little bill-inflaters squeezed here and there. Generally, reasonable. 4/5

Food: Okay it’s a nationwide formula: but a pretty damn successful one. There wasn’t a tough piece of chicken, or a dull flavoured plate of food in sight. Great Keema Pau, punchy Murgh Malai. Entertaining all round. 8/10