Review: Dishoom, Battersea Power Station

Review: Dishoom, Battersea Power Station

Retro-futuristic interiors and the most incredible food…

Inspired by the old Irani cafes of Bombay, Dishoom ushered in an original concept into London’s crammed dining scene when it launched in 2010 in Covent Garden. It has become a huge success, with openings outside of the capital, and now a Battersea Power Station outpost, marking its 11th site.

The group has the tough act of expanding while retaining a unique identity for each locale. For every new café, a story is created from Bombay’s history while picking up on the unique elements of the location. For the Carnaby Street cafe, the setting is Bombay’s rock scene from the 60s and 70s. Battersea’s story is all about a retro-futuristic Bombay – a vision of 2023 seen through a 1950s lens, with the idea that both Battersea Power Station and a newly independent Bombay had grand ideas for a brave future.

The resulting interiors are stunning. The main floor is all wavy lines, from the gold bar to the turquoise lighting that wraps around the restaurant. Head down a level and another gorgeous space features a grand bar area for cocktails.

The restaurant operates on a mainly no bookings policy in the evenings (unless in a group of six or more) and it was packed on our visit on a Thursday night. Staff are super-friendly and attentive and while it was busy it was buzzing rather than frenetic.

We started with two excellent cocktails from an original list, including the likes of an India Gimlet and 1948 Sour. Non-drinkers are well catered for with mocktails including Sober Negroni, which uses home-made gin and vermouth to ensure there is no trace of alcohol.

There’s a vegan menu as well as dishes suitable for those with lactose or dairy intolerances: the Irani cafes of Bombay were known for being inclusive, and that’s one of the big aims of Dishoom.

We were advised to choose two to three dishes per person to share and the waitress was enthusiastic and knowledgeable with her recommendations – useful as the low lighting and small font made the menu difficult to read!


Each location has a chef’s special. At Battersea, that is a bhatti chicken – rather like tandoori chicken but with a different cooking method with bhatti referring to the fire it’s roasted over, and flavoured with fennel and the more unusual stone flower. It was utterly delicious with a tender perfectly spiced piece of chicken served on the bone.

We also ordered one of Dishoom’s most popular dishes – the house black daal, cooked for 24 hours. It was a bowl of pure comfort. But one of the biggest standouts, and something of a surprise, was the paneer tikka – the humble cheese elevated into a spectacular full-flavoured dish. Masala prawns were also wonderful. We finished with a melting chocolate pudding with a Kashmiri chilli ice cream offering a real kick – delicious.

All of it was excellent, well priced and offered in a convivial atmosphere. Dishoom is doing a fine job of capturing the original sprit of the Irani cafes, which broke down barriers of culture, race, religion and class. Its philosophy includes bringing people of different faiths together to celebrate each other’s festivals, as well as tying Knots of Protection – for Raksha Bandhan, guests are invited to tie a rakhi (thread) on someone of a different faith, nationality or culture. For every rakhi, Dishoom donates £1 to Seeds of Peace, a charity that helps teenagers from conflict regions to learn how to make peace. Dishoom also donates a meal for every meal sold to charity. It recently passed the milestone of 20 million meals donated to children in the UK and India.

Dishoom, Electric Boulevard, Battersea Power Station

Price: Around £20 to £40 per head.

Images: Interiors – John Carey / Food – Helen Cathcart


READ MORE: Battersea Power Station’s best restaurants