Did you know that there were almost 400 Irani cafés in Bombay around 1960? Most of them have disappeared and now it’s about 30. To experience such an atmosphere of pleasant chatter, mild aroma of insence sticks and delicious Indian cuisine one doesn’t have to as far as Bombay. Edinburgh or London will do.

Enter the Dishoom of Edinburgh – be welcomed by a kind lady and behold the long, open kitchen where you just see a chef stretching a roti dough over a big heavy cast iron half-sphere shaped griddle – extremely hot.
Feel free to say hi to the Chefs and ask them any questions.

When being seated, we were passed with a lady carrying one incense stick. Their aroma is quite strong, to distribute it more mildly, they carry them around and leave them resting in a box with small holes.

Incense sticks resting in a box

The menu was explained to us by very friendly Hungarian guy, who shall become my new friend right now. I had the famous 24 hours cooked black dal (made from black lentils – urid dal), for a great price of 5.90. Few weeks before, I’ve cooked this dal according to this recipe and was quite happy with the result, but this was something else. It was so creamy, with a bright tomato flavour. Lentils so soft, yet still holding together when you spoon it with freshly baked garlic naan bread. The house chai was good, finding out that it’s refillable, I was very pleased on a heavily rainy day. Topped with very friendly staff which makes you feel comfortable, I couldn’t be happier.

Full Dishoom Party by About Time Magazine

In fact, I could. When leaving, I gathered all the courage and asked a chef if he would kindly share some tips on cooking this heavenly dal. Without hesitation, he told me to cook the lentils for 3 hours without salt, then strain, create the flavour base and cook the whole dish for long time (in their case 24 hours). Butter and cream should be added at the very end, before serving, otherwise the creamy notes are different. Now I know! (And you too, so go cook yourself the best dal there is!)

Dishoom interior in the basement bar part. Photo by About Time Magazine