Any writer of restaurant reviews will, as a matter of professional courtesy, read the competition. Weekend must-reads include Grace Dent, Marina O’Loughlin and Jay Rayner but I don’t bother with Giles Coren as I have it on good authority that he’s a pompous twit. Occasionally our worlds collide, but not very often as I don’t live in London or write for a national newspaper. Occasionally, when they leave London and come north, we have reviewed the same restaurants. Occasionally, we have even come to the same conclusions.
Last weekend I agreed to give Dishoom’s home-delivered Bacon Naan Roll kit a go. DHL kindly informed me that my kit would be delivered on Sunday morning between 10 and 11. I tuned into The Archers, opened The Observer and, eventually, after Stewart Lee and then Mariella Frostrup’s problem page, I turned to Jay Rayner. I discovered that Jay was focusing on bespoke home cooking deliveries, mainly the Côte Brasserie chain and its Côte at Home brand. Eight paragraphs in he mentioned he was also sampling a Dishoom kit. There’s that critic collision again. He was in favour and concluded that “the good things to come out of this crisis are few, but a Dishoom bacon naan at home is one of them”. High praise indeed, though this from a man who declared he wasn’t going to give bad reviews anymore. Still, it was enough to make me anticipate my delivery like a Pavlovian dog.
Ding dong and there’s a box at my door inscribed with a portentous label: Dishoom Bacon Naan Roll Kit. Taking my pick, I opened the box (that’s one for all you TV historians out there). There is streaky bacon from Ramsay of Carluke, naan doughballs, cream cheese, coriander and a potent chilli jam. There are also the makings of a classic cup of masala chai. The instructions are clear and easy. I pop the bacon under the grill, roll out the dough ball into a flat naan shape and put it into a smoking frying pan. When the bottom is done, it also goes under the grill to puff up and finish off. With the chai made, I plate up. Bacon on naan and smothered in cream cheese, chilli jam and coriander. It is satisfyingly crunchy and smoky on the palate. The jam is hot and sweet so I add more as the dish goes down in record time.
This doorstep delivery is a true taste of Dishoom deliciousness and I am reminded how much I miss the place. The good people at Dishoom also ensure that, with each box purchased, they donate a meal to the Magic Breakfast charity which provides free meals to schools in the UK.
A sunny and satisfying Sunday has now turned into a dull and damp Monday. As I type this out, a final thought occurs to me. There are the fixings for another Dishoom Bacon Naan Roll in the fridge and I find myself agreeing with Jay again.
Main image by Charlie McKay. All other images by Robert Hamilton.