Bangalore and Dishoom revisited.

Firstly a word about the photography on this blog: I am not a very good photographer, I use an iphone camera which is pretty dreadful and I am greedy. This means that whenever the food is put in front of me I nearly always forget to take pictures of it before eating half of it. This partly explains why there is a picture of my half eaten food in this post. Apologies. On the left is a picture of the menu at Bangalore in Waterloo, which I will get back to in a minute.

So, I went back to Dishoom after reveiwing it pretty positively. I decided that it would be a good place to meet a friend in town, nice decor, decent enough food, fairly reasonable prices; a good place for a catch up. However, this time I didn’t get a chance to eat the food as the waitress seating us waited until we were literally about to place our bottoms on our chairs and then announced that even though they were empty now, they had been pretty busy recently so she could only give us the table for 1 hr and 15 minutes, but that was fine wasn’t it? We didn’t think it was fine, so got up to leave, she then said she could extend it to an hour and a half, that was plenty of time surely? Now, that may indeed have been plenty of time and I am obviously used to the concept of having a table for a fixed time (not that I like it much), but surely the time slot is usually 2 hours not an hour and a quarter! Also, this is usally negotiated in advance, when you book at a busy restaurant, not as you sit down in an empty one. Anyway we left. The thought of wolfing down the food and keeping the eye on the time whilst chatting didn’t appear to bode well for a relaxing evening out. as it was we ended up at The Real Greek and I was sick afterwards, but that is another story. Dishoom seems to have read and absorbed too much of it’s own press and forgtten it is running a service that is supposed to be a pleasure, not doing us a favour by allowing us through the door.

On to Bangalore and the photograph of our half eaten food. I have been here before and it is fairly similar to Dishoom, and before ayone protests, I don’t mean in the type of food, Dishoom is a mock up of an Iranian run Bombay cafe and Bangalore is, well, I imagine it is fashioned on the food of Bangalore. Anyway, what I mean is that they are both fairly quirky, fast ish food places, offering a variety of food, almost tapas, that you could eat at any time. Perfect for pre or post theatre or cinema in fact.

Bangalore’s quirk is in its design, running along one wall are a set of two storey booths, a metal runged ladder providing access to the top booth. It looks cute and I do like eating in a booth. We ate in a floor level booth and it does add a feeling of privacy and space. We have been here several times, always when on our way to or from some type of event or show. This time I had a vegetable Thali with a side salad of cucumber, corn, red onion, chopped lettuce and raw coconut. The Thali was well done, plenty of food but not too huge, not too much reliance on potato and all of the elements well cooked.  Joff had one of the Big Plates of curry and rice, he chose vegetable rogan josh with side orders of spinach and tofu and brown rice. Both were very good, freshly cooked, spicy and satisfying. This is not high end cuisine but is hearty, spicy, feel good food. The salad was excellent, dressed with lemon juice instead of an oily dressing and the fresh coconut was an interesting addtion that worked well. They also have a good wine list, I had a gewurztraminer, which I love and which is a fairly unusual find in what is basically a high street chain (hey have two or three branches).

Our meal came to £40 for two main courses, a salad and two glasses of wine which is not dirt cheap but pretty reasonable, particularly in Waterloo. I would definitely return, they know who their customers are adn manage to provide fast service and tasty food without making  you feel rushed or unwelcome.
Bangalore Express on Urbanspoon

Dishoom

Dishoom is a reconstruction, or reinvention, of a Bombay Cafe, run by Persian immigrants in bombay when it was still Bombay. It is in Covent Garden, next to Jamie’s Italian and is a welcome addition to the restaurant scene there. The decor is fantastic, cool tiled floors and dark wooden furniture designed to make you feel exotic and reminiscent of a time and a place that you most probably never knew (there is a lot of that around at the moment). It is also a modern restaurant so has an open kitchen and sparklingly clean surfaces.

The menu is designed tapas style so that you order whatever you want and it comes whenever it is ready, which luckily for us was roughly in the order that we wanted to eat it in. The food is sort of Anglo Indian and I say sort of as I don’t want to put anyone off. Prices are very reasonable (our meal came to £26 with 5 dishes, a pudding, 2 juices and a tea). We ate vegetable samosas, vegetable Bhaji which was mashed vegetables with what looked like griddled english muffins, daal, Ruby Murry (vegetable Curry), rice and a pineapple and mango crumble.

All of the food was freshly cooked and well spiced, the pudding in particular was excellent, the crumble had plenty of cinnamon and brown sugar and also had lots of seeds in it which gave it extra crunch. The black daal was lovely and smoky and worryingly creamy (worryingly only because I fear for my arteries, nothing to do with taste). There were nice touches throughout such as the tea being served in a glass tumbler with a mini tumbler of milk on the side. I drank Fever Tree ginger beer which was lovely and spicy and very refreshing.

The food was served quickly and it  is set up like a cafe so is probably more suited to a meal with a group of friends or a pre or post event meal rather than a long and langourous romatic dinner. I have had some disappointing dinners out recently so this was a bit of a relief; good service, good food and reasonable prices. Thank you Dishoom.
Dishoom on Urbanspoon