Dishoom Manchester Review, Vintage Mumbai-style Indian Restaurant

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The Manchester Dishoom location is where my love affair with the Dishoom brand started. Opened in 2018, the restaurant has since cemented its place in Manchester’s culinary scene — a rare feat, considering the sheer number of eateries in the metropolitan city. It’s rare to walk past the restaurant past 5 p.m. without a line at least ten people deep snaking out of the doors onto the streets. Yes, it’s that popular!

An eatery with quite that much demand has to offer something unique. Here in the U.K., that’s hard. Indian takeaways crowd the streets of every city, town, and village, while countless restaurants covered in vintage Bollywood posters serve balti buckets every day. But authentic Indian restaurants? Outside of London or Leicester, those are hard to find. Especially if you don’t know where to look.

Dishoom sits at an interesting place in the market. It’s far from a hidden gem. They’ve cracked the code for bringing more authentic Indian food to the British market. That’s because there’s no one doing quite what they do — they’ve transported the art deco Iranian cafes of Mumbai to the streets of the U.K., along with bun maska, keema per eedu, and roomali roti.

I first visited Dishoom Manchester during its opening month, in December 2018. I was wowed then. But has the quality dropped? Does it deserve its flowers? Will the people of Manchester keep queuing?

For Holi this year, Dishoom released a special dish I couldn’t pass up. You could say they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So, I headed back, found out the answer to all those questions, and wrote an exhaustive Dishoom Manchester review. Read on for my verdict …

Dishoom Manchester: The Ambiance

Manchester Dishoom is stunning. Honestly, I want to hire the brand’s interior decorator to design my house. As with the London Carnaby Street Dishoom branch, the decor is understated, minimal, and undeniably vintage Indian, with so much attention to detail. 

A glance at the clock and you may do a double-take — it’s telling the wrong time. Or is it? Not exactly, because it’s set to Indian time, and once you step inside Dishoom Manchester, you’re no longer in the English city. From the pictures on the wall, the intricate wooden sectionals, the whirring wooden fans, the glass lamps decorated with embossed stars, and the bamboo blinds held up by a rope, this is decidedly Mumbai.  

Chairs and tables are spaciously arranged, and the feeling is warm and cozy, yet bright and airy from the large stained glass windows. The sounds of gentle Bollywood music and Indian jazz float in the air alongside the chatter of patrons. It’s lazy and perfect. 

Dishoom Manchester permit room bar.

The building is huge, and several rooms deep. It’s an old Freemasons’ Hall, and Dishoom has cleverly paid tribute to its history by tying in images and documents from the Indian Freemasons — specifically, Brother Manockjee Cursetjee (1808–1887), who they say is considered the “father of freemasonry” in Western India.

It’s the perfect backdrop for Dishoom, echoing the brand’s art deco aesthetic, as it was constructed in 1929. The Freemasons still hold meetings in the retro building, although they now stick to the upper floors.

It’s worth exploring the venue and paying real attention to all the graphics and photographs on the walls. Take a wander to the “permit room,” a bar inspired by Mumbai’s prohibition, grab a drink, or just enjoy the atmosphere. The decor continues downwards towards the toilets, where you can find rather amusing graphics (including the one featured, which is a condom advertisement promoting two-children families) sitting alongside serious black and white family photos of straight-faced gorgeous ladies wearing sarees and sauve men in suits.

Dishoom Manchester interior design graphics.

Dishoom Manchester Review: The Service

The service at Dishoom is consistently exceptional. The staff are friendly, welcoming, informative (they are happy to describe the “concept” to you or explain flavors of dishes), and markedly professional. Dishes arrive promptly, often brought to the table by the chefs, which is a nice touch.

The wait staff replace napkins, water, and cutlery when needed without asking, yet there’s no feeling of being “watched over.” I particularly appreciated the non-rushed feeling of service and the leisurely atmosphere. After finishing, our waitress asked if we wanted to sit and chat for some time or to have the bill now — these small details make the service impeccable. Shoutout to you, Gabrielle! 😁

Dishoom Manchester Review: The Food

Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free Options

More than two-thirds of Dishoom’s all-day menu is vegetarian-friendly. From the small plates, grills, rice dishes, curries, sides, and bread, there’s something for everyone to go “mmmmn” over!

All Dishoom locations also have a separate vegan menu. Many of the dishes are naturally vegan, although some on the menu are adapted versions — from the chole chawal (chickpea curry and rice) to the vada pav, which has vegan buns, and the house chaat, which uses oat yogurt. They even have vegan lassi! Plus, there’s attention to detail, as the menu states Dishoom only uses unwaxed limes for vegan meals.

Dishoom also has a separate menu for gluten intolerances and dairy intolerances. They do suggest letting them know if you have food allergies.

Overall, Dishoom Manchester is a fantastic place to visit if you have a group with multiple dietary needs, as everyone can be catered for and find something to love.

Dishoom Okra Fries

My Dishoom-style vegan okra fries recipe is one of the most popular on my blog. It’s no surprise why! Dishoom made this Indian snack, locally known as kurkuri bhindi, famous across the U.K., where it was practically unheard of. I’m so happy Dishoom is pioneering the change because although okra has a terrible reputation, Indian dishes like bhindi masala and crispy fries are unbeaten in flavor. 

Seriously, the Dishoom okra fries are perfect. The okra is tender, soft, and juicy —while the batter is crunchy and crispy instead of overcooked and hard (so easy!). They also came out very fast and piping hot. 

Just a hint of chili and tangy amchur powder (dried mango) finishes the okra fries, and I could have eaten at least three portions. The Dishoom okra fries compliment the table chutneys (every table gets these, regardless of the dish you order) perfectly; my favorite combo was the vibrant and zesty green chutney, although the sweet-sour tamarind or tangy and fiery chili chutney also makes excellent dipping sauces. 

Dishoom Misal Pau (Holi Special)

As soon as I heard about Dishoom’s Holi special, misal pav, I knew I had to try it. Maharashtrian Misal Pav routinely takes the top spot of my all-time favorite Indian meals, and the Dishoom version lived up to all my expectations. 

If you don’t know how to eat misal pav (I do, of course!), the wait staff explains it to you, which is a nice touch; pour the kat/rassa (red gravy) into the misal, then top it with red onion, coriander, and a squeeze of lime. Tear a piece of the pav (with your dominant hand) and scoop up the misal. 

The gravy is sharp and spicy, dark brown with a distinctive layer of red oil on top (a sign it’s cooked well), and a complex depth of flavor from a special spice masala. It’s hot — but suitable for the British palette — and falls short of the dangerously fiery authentic Maharashtrian spice levels. It’s just the right consistency, neither too thin nor too thick, and dreamily unctuous, 

Comparatively, the base of the misal is soft and juicy sprouted pulses. Unlike the standard misal, it isn’t just matki (moth beans) but seems to have sprouted chana (chickpeas), adding more substance to the rendition. 

The whole thing is topped with classic Mumbai-style chivda, a mixture of crispy sev (chickpea flour ribbons), dried peas, and crunchy peanuts. 

The pav is homemade, buttery, and toasted to perfection, with gorgeously rich, buttery, and slightly salty edges. I would love the option to order more pav if needed. 

Reasonably priced and utterly delicious, I would love to see this dish on the regular menu. Let’s start a petition?! 👀 In the meantime, you can whip up this dish at home with my authentic misal pav recipe! Just leave out the potato and brown your onions longer for a Dishoom-style affair.

Dishoom Chole Puri

Chole puri with sooji halwa and pickles at Dishoom Manchester, on a marble table.

I always gravitate towards Dishoom’s chole puri — but who can blame me? Chickpea curry is top-of-the-line Indian vegetarian fare, and when you combine it with puffy puris, sweet sooji halwa (called “sheera” in Marathi), and lip-smacking carrot and green chili pickles, I challenge anyone to resist. I also reviewed this dish on my recent visit to the Carnaby Street Soho Dishoom branch

Sumptuous, subtly fragrant, and richly spiced (but mild in heat), the chickpea curry features a thick sauce, chunks of soft potato, and mouthwatering flavor. The only drawback is the large julienned ginger. They’re cut too thick, so chewing on them is unpleasant. I highly recommend adding a squeeze of lemon juice, which plays on the citrusy flavor of the coriander and elevates the dish. 

The bread element of the dish, called puri, is brown, unbelievably puffy, and huge. Compared to my puri recipe, they taste different; I suspect they’re made with wholewheat chapati flour, lending more earthiness and a slight, pleasant chewiness. Nothing tastes better with chole, except perhaps bhatura …

Meanwhile, the sooji halwa — a traditional dessert made by cooking fine semolina with buttery ghee, perfumed cardamon, sugar to sweeten, and milk or water to thicken — is nutty and perfectly sweet, although it lacks moistness. A little more ghee, milk, or water would have loosened the consistency slightly. It was slightly clumpy (although nonetheless delicious).

If you find the chole spicy, this is the perfect thing to cool your palette. I recommend not mixing the two; instead, use your dominant hand to tear the puri, scoop up the chole, eat, and repeat the process but with the sooji halwa this time. Yum! 

The carrot and green chili pickle is a fun riff on the traditional fried green chilis. Tangy, sour, and full of the flavor of pickling spices, they’re the perfect accompaniment. 

Dishoom Coconut Caramel Custard (Navroz Special)

This dish is another limited-time special, but this time for Navroz, the Persian New Year. Dishoom describes the dish as a “Parsi-Parisian confection.” This would be my first ever Dishoom dessert, and I couldn’t resist ordering one to try for this Dishoom Manchester review!

Impossibly creamy and soft custard is the base of the dessert. Although chefs make the jiggling custard with coconut (and egg), the flavor is subtle and understated. Even those of you who usually balk at tropical coconut tastes will enjoy the sweet treat.

The golden caramel sauce, made from jaggery, is nutty and not overly sweet. This slight, not unpleasant bitterness cuts through the molasses flavor, providing harmony. The dish is complemented by a finishing touch of crumbled peanut chikki crisp, a classic Maharashtrian dessert.

Dishoom Manchester Review: The Drinks

Dishoom Rose and Cardamon Lassi

Rose and cardamon lassi in a glass at Dishoom Manchester.

Rose and cardamon are a match made in heaven, and this lassi is no different! This lassi perfectly balances the tangy yogurt with the subtle sweetness and floral notes of rose, creating a delightful harmony of flavors. The cardamom isn’t overpowering, while the texture is thick, creamy, and smooth. I’ll return to this drink in the summer, so it gets a big thumbs up from me.

Dishoom Kala Khatta Sharbat

Dishoom kala khatta sharbat in a glass.

Sharbat could almost be called the Indian version of lemonade — various fruits tossed with citrus, then served over ice. What it lacks in fizz, it makes up for in flavor. This particular drink, Dishoom’s “kala khatta sharbat,” highlights kokum, a distinctive pink-colored berry used in Konkani cooking to bring a tart, sour taste to dishes.

The drink boasts a beautiful deep pink hue and a naturally cooling, refreshing effect. While a hint of chili adds a subtle spiciness and a touch of saltiness enhances the overall taste, the prominent flavor is the tartness with a hint of sweetness from the berries. However, to fully round out those complex flavors, I would have preferred a touch more sweetness.

Dishoom Manchester Price Range

Dishoom falls at the midpoint of Manchester dining. Compared to the prices along the curry mile, Dishoom can seem expensive — but in this case, it’s worth paying slightly extra for quality, especially if you value the authenticity of Indian recipes rather than BIR (or British Indian Restaurant)-)-style dishes. 

The bill for all the dishes listed was just over £50. This Dishoom Manchester review was not sponsored or paid for by anyone but myself.

Expert tip!

Dining on a weekday before 6 p.m.? Ask your server for a “matka token!” You’ll be presented with a die — if you roll a six, the meal will be free for the whole table.

The matka is named after the Hindi word for an Indian clay pot and also refers to an underground lottery system used in the 1960s in Mumbai (then Bombay). But keep it under wraps … shh!

Dishoom Manchester Location

On the edge of the modern Spinningfields District, Dishoom is well-positioned for a few hours of sightseeing before your meal. It’s within just a few minutes walk of the People’s History Museum and Manchester Opera House and slightly less than a 10-minute walk from the Manchester Art Gallery, the Royal Exchange Theatre, the National Football Museum, or the historic Castlefield district.

The closest train station is Salford Central (a 5-minute walk). Dishoom Manchester doesn’t have a dedicated car park, but on-street parking is available nearby, in addition to pay-and-display car parks.

Overall, Dishoom is well located, with a central positioning within the city and easy accessibility.

Dishoom Manchester Review: The Final Rating

📍Location: 32 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BT
🍽 Cuisine: Parsi-Indian
🌍 Sustainability:⁣⁣ Yes! Read more here. Dishoom also supports Magic Breakfast (U.K.) and The Akshaya Patra Foundation (India), providing meals for underprivileged children.
👨‍🍳 Owners: British Indian owned
♿️ Wheelchair friendly: Yes! Not immediately obvious, but there is a wheelchair-accessible lift (see TikTok video here). You may have to call ahead of time.
🐶 Dog friendly: Contact the restaurant.

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