Manchester’s Dishroom restaurant opened in December 2018 and it’s a labyrinthine place, housed in the former Masonic Lodge on Bridge Street. From the outside, it’s easy to miss – just another door in the facade. But prepare to be wowed. Dark wood panelling, a cabinet of treasures, smoking incense, and the Hindu god, Ganesh, welcome you in the entrance hall. And as you walk though, the venue just seems to expand. There’s a huge lower ground floor restaurant, mezzanine bar area, leading into a spacious dining hall and bar to the rear of the building. This back room is ringed with booths, and dotted with tables. Sky-high ceilings, old school family portraits and Victorian-era details paint an impressive picture – and service is second to none. Our server brings my twins Etch a Sketches and drink refill, even warning us when the lights are about to go down so that the man at a neighbouring table can propose. It’s a big night in Dishoom every night – and the food and drink live up to the hype. We start with thicker-than-papadam crispy crackers, with a sweet, apple chutney (£2.90), fresh fried green chillis (£4.20) – don’t get these mixed up with okra fries – and bhel – a magic porridge pot type bowl of puffed rice, pomegranate seeds, chopped tomato and mint (£4.50). After a 24-hr marinade, lamb chops (£4.30 per chop) arrive wickedly charred. Chicken tikka (£8.50) made with sweet vinegar is a match for a sauce plate of dense mint sauce, tamarind and a chilli. Desserts are excellent too in particular pistachio kulfi (£3.70) and sea salty chocolate pudding (£6.90) foiled by a bowl of chilli ice cream (there’s also cinnamon – they’re both mindblowing). ‘Kala Khatta Gola Ice’ meanwhile, is the best £3.50 you’ll spend this year; ‘black and white salt’ meets kokum fruit syrup, fresh blueberries and flakes of freshly shaved ice. The only thing that doesn’t dazzle is the ‘house black daal’ (£6.20) – it tastes of Heinz tomato soup; I also could probably leave the kids meals (paneer / chicken with potatoes and coleslaw). My twins ignore theirs and hoover up the rice and bread on the table instead. I also wish we’d had the Manchester special, Nalli Nihari Biryani (£16.90). This Desperate Dan-style lamb leg slow cooked and layered with rice and baked into a pie, with chicken-liver enriched gravy on the side looks amazing at other tables. Cocktails such as The Viceroy Old Fashioned (£9.50, Woodford Reserve, bay leaf reduction) and gimlet (£8) with just enough Roses lime cordial and celery bitters to jazz but not dominate the spirit are super – and a carafe of high end Aussie Shiraz (Pitchfork, Margaret River, £24.50 for 500ml) is a great curry wine. In fact, most wines are available by the glass, carafe or bottle.
Dishoom, 32 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BT, www.dishoom.com
Published on: Fri 18 Jan 2019