Ladies Night: Dishoom – a Bombay Cafe in London

A recent trip over to the UK included a girls night with the mama and sisters in London, where we dined, drank, shopped and Ritzed! After a brief run in with a naked man in bed, in what was supposed to be our room, we settled into our (naked man free) rooms at the Morgon Hotel on St. Martins Lane. Though marginally embarrassing for all involved, okay a lot for the dude in bed, it certainly started our night off with a bashful giggle. Our original plan was to go to Wahaca, but call me a skeptic, I wasn’t thrilled about going for Mexican while in London. Having grown up with amazing Mexican in Texas, the bar is set quite high. We decided to do a little restaurant hop to make the most of our time in London, and to make this Mexican-food-in-London-skeptic happy.

A short walk from our hotel near Covent Garden was Dishoom – a Bombay Cafe in London, and it ended up being everyone’s favorite. The atmosphere was a mix of industrial-comfort-chic, while the menu evokes dishes you would find served at the original Bombay cafes that have evaporated over the years.Image

We ordered a few different dishes to share and with a vegetarian at the table, we focused on the meat free items.

We started with the Pau Bhaji, a bowl of mashed vegetables with hot buttered pau bun. This was a winner at our table!

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The Bhel really caught our eyes and we weren’t disappointed. Loaded with puffed rice, Bombay Mix and nylon sev it was tossed with fresh pomegranate, tomato, onion, lime, tamarind, red chilli, garlic and ginger. It was the perfect mix of light and refreshing to wash down the more rich Pau Bahji. If you’re in Vancouver, Vij’s Railway Express makes something similar.

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It’s not secret that I love fish and there was no way we could pass up the Skate Cheeks Koliwada. These tasty and deep fried morsels were amazing! They were full of flavor and umami, leaving us wanting more. The tamarind and date chutney made the perfect dipping accompaniment. You MUST order this dish!

The girls ordered some cheese naan, but I regretfully didn’t try any. My ploy to save room for Mexican later was a waste. I bet it was delicious.

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The final dish of the night was our least favorite, but considering each dish prior to it set the bar very high, we’ll cut this wrap some slack. The Paneer Roll lacked the POW! BANG! POP! that each of the other dishes had, but you may love it, so don’t take my word for it.

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If you’re in London, make room for Dishoom! We’re still drooling over it three weeks later…

Tasty Tuna & Bean Salad

On a sunny weekend, you can likely find me at the Art Gallery Cafe’s patio with a group of friends, munching on salad and enjoying a cheeky glass (or two!) of wine. Today’s recipe is inspired by a salad I’ve had there before and I’ve been meaning to recreate it at home for some time now.  Cut from relaxing weekends on a patio, to chaotic weekdays and make way for a grab and go lunch! The mornings in our house can be haphazard at the best of times, and having a nutritious lunch on hand that’s quick and easy makes everyone’s life easier. The man of the house has a pretty physical job, so a filling lunch that’s packed with protein is ideal. This salad is refreshing from the liberal use of lemon and dill, while still very hearty from the beans, tuna and potatoes. It’s a great meal any time of year.

Serves 8 (hungry men) to 12 (lighter appetites)

You will need:

  • 2 tins of tuna (I like to use wild albacore that’s line caught)
  • 2 tins of white beans (I used 1 navy and 1 white kidney)
  • ¼ cup of red onion (Add more if you like lots of onion)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1.5 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional, I just felt it was missing something without this)
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 – ½ cup olives, pitted and roughly chopped (amount based on your preference)
  • 1 roasted yellow pepper
  • 1-2 cups of boiled fingerling potatoes (again, depending on how much potato you want)
  • A few liberal glugs of good olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter leaf lettuce
  • Fresh dill (my fridge froze mine, AGAIN! So, I sprinkled in some dried tarragon instead. Amount is up to your preference. The man shook the tarragon for about 15 seconds, if that’s any indication for how much we used.)

Rinse and drain the beans and place into a bowl. Rinse tuna and break apart and put into the bowl with the beans. Tuna and beans!Now, throw in everything else (onions, celery, roasted yellow pepper, olives, parsley, potatoes, lemon zest, mustard, lemon juice, dill/tarragon, vinegar and oil) and season with salt and pepper.

Fixings

Mix it up really well and don’t be afraid to be a little rough with it. Spoon onto a bed of butter leaf lettuce and enjoy! This will keep for a couple of days, so consider your lunches ready!

If you have capers on hand, a few of those chopped and added in would also work. Or, fry some and use them to garnish the salad.

Serve and enjoy!

What’s your favourite go to salad that you can make ahead and enjoy for a few meals?