The award-winning, self-styled Bombay cafe is ready to go at Manchester Hall - and it's stunning
Of all the new Manchester restaurants announced in the last year or two (and there's been a lot), few have garnered as much excitement as Dishoom - which opens officially in Manchester Hall later this week.
Bosses of the award-winning, self-styled Bombay cafe - previously voted the UK's best restaurant - have been eyeing Manchester up for years, following the romping success of its five London restaurants (video here), beginning with Covent Garden in 2010, and most recently in Edinburgh, which opened last year.
There's an awful lot of antique pieces littered round the place
And as these images show, the group are all but ready to go in Manchester, with a stunning 230-cover restaurant and bar inside the grade II-listed former Freemasons hall - now home to Masons, Vanitas and the soon-to-arrive Honest Burgers, following a multi-million pound restoration.
Speaking to Confidential, co-founder Shamil Thakrar said the Manchester project had provided them with a very 'unique challenge'.
"We've been trying to come to Manchester for four or five years," he said. "It's been a fascinating but difficult space to work with, not only because of its listed status but also its Masonic heritage, which we've tried really hard to respect and preserve.
"For that reason we travelled to Bombay and did a lot of work there, finding the Masonic lodge of Bombay. We spent a lot of time in there, photographing the design details and portraits - some of which we've reproduced here in full size, alongside photos of our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, ancestors..."
"We've actually brought around 150 items with us from Bombay," he continued. "The first thing you'll see as you come in is a big Masonic in-and-out signboard which we found at the Thieves' Market in Bombay. You'll also see an old marble switchboard from a governor's mansion, cabinets, photos... the chairs we're sitting on right now are from the Theosophical Society. There's an awful lot of antique pieces littered round the place.
As well as all the imports and reproductions, the team have worked meticulously alongside long-time collaborators Macaulay Sinclair to preserve as many of the building's original features as possible, from the beautiful wooden parquet flooring to marble skirtings and stained glass windows.
"Negotiating the Freemasons' parabolic dome ceiling was interesting," says Kavi, co-founder and cousin of Shamil, "it was a way of listening in to conversations going on around the room, but obviously we don't want our diners doing the same."
Like the other six Dishooms, the Manchester restaurant will open all day, every day from breakfast until late.
Executive chef Naved Nasir’s breakfast menu includes their much-loved bacon or sausage naan roll and the Keema Per Eedu: a 'Parsi power breakfast' of eggs, spicy chicken keema and chicken liver. Later in the day order their signature 24 hour-cooked house black daal (a favourite of ours) or the chef's special Nalli Nihari Biryani - lamb shank, rice and caramelised onions in a pastry blanket with liver, raita and nihari gravy.
The Permit Room bar - named after the Bombay Prohibition Act 1949 and located between the two dining rooms - is equally good-looking, offering a number of cocktails designed specifically for Manchester, plus a range of non-boozey concoctions containing 'a top-secret spirit base'.
Take a video walkthrough of Dishoom here...
Well @dishoom Manchester is a bloody stunner. Too much to put it into words so here’s a video doing all the hard work for me. Opens Sun 25th Nov pic.twitter.com/jrOFhzuL2Z
— David Blake (@David8Blake) November 20, 2018
Dishoom Manchester will welcome its first diners from 9am on Sunday 25th November, offering 50% off during a soft launch period (simply walk in off the street and join the queue).
32 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BT. Open 8am–11pm (Mon to Thurs), 8am to 12am (Friday), 9am to 12am (Sat), 9am to 11pm (Sun). Reservations are now being taken via dishoom.com/reservations