Dishoom is set to open its doors on Wednesday 6th December on Electric Boulevard, right next to the historic Battersea Power Station – also marking its first site to be located South of the river.
The design will transport guests to the Bombay of 2023 through the lens of the past, fusing Bombay nostalgia and futurism.
Dishoom Battersea will continue to share the team’s deep love for Bombay – its food, rich history, vibrant culture, and charming idiosyncrasies. Open all day every day, it will cater to patrons’ needs from dawn until dusk. The menu, a celebration of Bombay comfort food, will offer a journey through the city’s diverse food culture - from hearty breakfasts to street food staples, biryani to the curries of Mohammed Ali Road, and the famed grills of Colaba. Dogs will be welcome at Dishoom Battersea (the only Dishoom café where guests can dine inside with canine friends).
On the new location, Dishoom co-founder Shamil Thakrar says:
“I am a proud Londoner, and Battersea Power Station is one of those few genuinely iconic London buildings. When I was growing up, my father would endlessly lecture me on the importance of the Power Station and its provision of power for the city – I can’t quite believe we’re in the fortunate position to be opening right beside it. I’m genuinely thrilled.”
The menu at Dishoom Battersea will feature a Chef’s Special dish: the Bhatti Chicken. A somewhat forgotten cousin of the famous Tandoori Chicken (bhatti is another name for anything cooked with fire), it is marinated in black spices, for an earthy, smoky flavour and striking dark hue. Found in a few Bombay eateries under the name Black Chicken, it is a dish also particularly close to Chef Rishi Anand’s heart since it was cooked by his father every Sunday in the family’s small portable tandoor, with some untraditional flourishes that have been retained for Dishoom. The dish can be enjoyed on the bone, in whole or half portions, with fresh green chutney and onion lachcha salad.
As with all Dishoom restaurants, for every meal served in Battersea, the team will donate a school meal to a child who would otherwise go hungry. A meal for a meal. Dishoom works with two fantastic charities – The Akshaya Patra Foundation in India and Magic Breakfast in the UK – who provide nourishing meals to children in schools. So far, Dishoom has donated over 19 million meals (... and counting!).
The opening of any Dishoom restaurant always begins with writing a story, which deeply roots the design of the new café in some aspect of Bombay history or culture. This time, Shamil Thakrar and the team at Dishoom have taken inspiration from a decades long interest in and appreciation for the craft and storytelling of graphic novels. They have had their noses deep in comic strips and graphic novels, past and present, to dream up the story and backdrop for their newest café. In addition, they have been fascinated by retro-futurism – the way the future was imagined by those in the past. Armed with this creative inspiration, they have collaborated with South Asian comics illustrator, Shazleen Kahn, to create their very own comic strip tale as a basis for the design of Dishoom Battersea.
Dishoom Battersea looks at the future through the lens of the ‘50s, and is set in an imagined Bombay of the year 2023. Guests will find futuristic Hindi typefaces on the walls, alongside artwork paying homage to visionaries – architects, inventors and sci-fi writers whose dreams shape our present and future. Eagle-eyed patrons may spot the likes of pioneering inventor Shankar Abaji Bhisey (the ‘Indian Edison’) on the café walls, alongside sci-fi writer Begum Rokeya, and Indian scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose. Dishoom Battersea is a café for the inventors and the dreamers.
Dishoom co-founders Shamil and Kavi Thakrar worked closely with long-time collaborators and architects, Macaulay Sinclair, on the design of the restaurant. Whilst exploring Bombay together over many weeks, the team discovered a rich and deep historial seam of thinking which imagined the future amongst Bombay artists and architects. It is this thread which is woven throughout the entire aesthetic, rooting the interiors in Indian - and specifically Bombay - retrofuturism. Many of the pieces sourced from Bombay include materials and processes which were at the forefront of retrofuturism, giving Battersea’s Dishoom a wholly unique look and feel.
As well as design features which combine modern aesthetics with futuristic technology - such as an electromechanical clock from the 1950s which dominates the Dishoom Battersea stairwell - the team has breathed new life into over 100 pieces of vintage furniture from Bombay (including many wonderful retrofuture pieces), each chosen with enormous care. Throughout the space, diners will also find a more familiar mix of iconic Irani café bentwood chairs, timber panelling, artwork and fans.
The restaurant will also house a Permit Room bar – named after the official term for all Bombay drinking establishments, in which, according to the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949, only permit-holders may consume alcohol. The bar will serve Dishoom’s acclaimed cocktails, teetotal tipples, chai, coolers and more.
You can visit Dishoom from 6th December at 42 Electric Boulevard, Nine Elms, SE11 8BJ. Reservations for any size can be made at Dishoom Battersea for breakfast and lunch; breakfast is served until 11.45am each day, and the all-day menu is served from 12pm onwards. Reservations can be made for groups of six or more at dinner (after 5.45pm). Walk-ins are always welcome.
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