Esquire's Rachel Fellows on how to convince your girlfriend to eat curry with you. (Hint: cocktails.)
What's the problem?
The prospect of dining at the local curry house has triggered a stony silence.
It's not that us girls don't like curry at all, it's just the thought of a rich, sloppy, creamy mess that contains highly questionable meat and about a million calories that puts us off. And trekking out for a night of glamour at the nearest establishment isn't always inspiring: they may not all have flocked wallpaper and a BOYB policy (which can be slightly dangerous) but they don't tend to be what we'd call romantic.
What if we get some tandoori to go?
A takeaway consumed on the sofa isn't exactly ceremonious – and it's made worse by the accompanying stench that infallibly lingers in the kitchen for days.
So what do I do?
The flip side of this is not – I repeat, not – a Michelin starred palace in Mayfair that brandishes the word 'fusion' and requires a re-mortgage to take care of the bill (not to mention the dress-code).
Get yourself to Dishoom, an easy-going but exciting restaurant inspired by Bombay street cafés.
You get your curry. She gets cocktails. Win win.
She gets what?
You read correctly: cocktails. There are other options too but an East India Gimlet or Chilli Martini will go down very nicely. Plus, they'll make a sharp change from a bottle of Tiger (which there's nothing wrong with, of course, but a vague sense of occasion can cheer things up).
Fair point. How's the grub?
The food comes in small plates that are easy to share. Though it is by no means mandatory to do so, there is so much choice on the menu that you'll want to try everything (and it also solves the problem of indecisive girlfriends who spend hours perusing the menu, before getting food envy and trying to steal from your plate).
Tell me my favourites are there.
You will be relieved to know that there are the recognisable biryanis, kebabs and samosas on the menu. However it's worth branching out a bit too – try the Spicy Lamb Chops, the prawns, the calamari or the 'Gunpowder Potatoes.' Even the house daal is impressive. The food is tasty and fresh and, don't worry, incredibly filling.
What's the joint like?
A dimly lit, buzzing restaurant with photos adorning the walls, old-school lamps hanging down from the ceiling and the chefs at work right in front of you. Service is friendly and food comes as soon as it's ready in a continuous flow.
Covent Garden or Shoreditch.
No poppadoms. Sorry.
A curry that she can get excited about – who'd have thought it?
12 Upper St Martin's Lane, London, WC2H 9FB
020 7420 9320
7 Boundary Street, London, E2 7JE
020 7420 9324