Chowpatty Beach Comes to London

Posted on Back of House Jul 2011 - by Tandoori Editor
Chowpatty Beach Comes to London

Dishoom’s pop-up restaurant Chowpatty Beach has perched itself on London’s South Bank. Chef Naved Nasir talks to Tandoori about its cooking and what inspired the idea.

When Dishoom opened its doors in London’s Covent Garden just over a year ago, the critical response was generally good to somewhat mixed.
Inspired by the fading Bombay-based Persian cafes of yesteryear, the establishment nevertheless went on to become a huge favourite with the public and now even garners queues of followers waiting to get a table.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Dishoom’s mix of Bombay street grills and food stall cooking – albeit given a modern, London twist – struck a chord, particularly among the young 20 to 30-plus clientele and continues unabated.
So what do you do when your restaurant has hit a winning streak? You go on to launch another site, with or without the same concept.  
In the case of Dishoom, it’s come up with the idea of offering its very own version of the tastes and flavours of Mumbai’s famed Chowpatty Beach. Appropriately – with London devoid of a sea shoreline – it happens to be on the Southbank, by the Thames. But be warned, it’s just a pop-up restaurant only and will no longer be up and running beyond 4 October.
Okay, so we won’t quite be getting the genuine thrills and spills of the pleasures that the real Chowpatty Beach has to offer, from contortionists and snake charmers to professional masseurs and even beebie-gun shooting galleries, but at least the cooking comes close.
All credit then to Dishoom’s chef Naved Nasir. Of course, that’s all besides the eye-catching and rather quirky construction of the whole venue that has to be seen to be believed.
The minimalist menu brings to life such Mumbai culinary classics as vada pau and the city’s signature Frankie, but there are Dishoom favourites here too, including their Ruby Murray along with naan rolls, bhel and refreshers like gola ices, kulfis and a merriment of India-style drinks.
“We were very clear in our minds as to the kind of food we were going to offer at the Chowpatty pop-up,” says Nasir. “it was going to be snack-style, fast moving items with a smattering of Dishoom’s popular dishes such as the
Ruby and various others. It was also important that we keep the whole concept very simple with no crockery or cutlery, but just disposables. That way, you create the feeling of walking on the beach and eating or even taking the food home with you.
Nasir is so pleased with the success of Chowpatty that he readily says that it breaks his heart to know that the pop-up will only be on for another few months.
With a background in five star hotel groups such as the Sheraton and the post of executive chef of the luxury Rama-International Hotel in Aurangabad, Nasir states that he thoroughly enjoys the cooking he churns out at Dishoom.
“The volumes we do are ginormous,” he adds, “but that’s a practical challenge rather than anything to do with what our food tastes like. I know this style of cooking very well as I’ve been cooking and eating this type of food since my days as a young chef in Mumbai. It brings back many memories.”
Chowpatty Beach
Famous Naan Rolls
Sausage naan roll
The Dishoom Frankie
Beach Snacks
Pau bhaji
Beach Meals
Chicken Ruby & naan
Daal & naan
Gola Ices
Kala khatta
Orange & ginger
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