I joined the Dishoom team in 2011 as the resident Daru-walla, which means “the drinks guy”.
I head up the ‘Permit Room’ bars across Dishoom and spend my time delving into Bombay’s immensely rich history, uncovering wonderful stories that then form the inspiration for Dishoom’s drinks.
It’s an endlessly fascinating job, made even more awesome by the constant taste tests with the team.
As for Dishoom – Dishoom pays homage to the Irani cafés of Bombay – lovely welcoming places opened by Zoroastrian immigrants from Iran at the start of the last century.
At their peak, there were around 400 of these cafés, but now there’s only a handful left. Head Babus, Shamil and Kavi Thakrar, spent a lot of time in these cafés as youngsters, and were saddened that so many were closing down.
They really wanted to preserve this heritage and share it with others outside of Bombay. This is the story of Dishoom.
The day I turned eighteen I started working in a bar called Benson Blakes under a chap called Tim Blake. I learnt from him that bartending is an art and a continuous learning path. From here I went to work with Sipheng You at The Old School Yard. He is a total bar genius who taught me all my bar skills and pushed me forward in my career.
I would have to say my biggest achievement was winning the Young British Foodies’ drinks category in 2014. I created a selection of ‘peg’ cocktails (an old Bombay measurement) served in bottles with chunks of hand-chipped ice.
My favourite cocktail would have to be a Dishoom Viceroy’s Old-Fashioned. We serve it in our Permit Rooms, but I have a special 2-year-old bottle which I’ve set aside for ‘special keeping!’ Alternatively, if it’s sunny, I’ll have a crisp fresh East India Gimlet.
My advice would be not to run before you can walk. With bartending, you have to master the basics before you can develop your skills.
You have to take time to really understand everything you do in detail. The more you practice, the further you will be able to push yourself later on.
Not at the moment! These are top secret for now, but I can tell you that they’re inspired by some awesome historical connections that we uncovered between Edinburgh and Bombay.
We learnt about a Scottish town planner called Patrick Geddes who worked in both Edinburgh and Bombay and we made him the protagonist to our unique Edinburgh story. We also visited libraries, reading rooms, museums, and theatres, gathering all sorts of detail that I then used to inspire the unique drink recipes.
Dishoom looks for those who are special, interesting, and different. Those who have a bit of a spark about themselves.
For my bar team, I’m looking for individuals that are absolutely obsessed with drinks and who are totally dedicated to the craft of bartending.
I’d love to find a team of people who are passionate about what we do everyday and who have a serious desire to build a first-class career with us in this awesome industry. (If this sounds like you, check out www.dishoom.com/careers)
Dishoom Edinburgh will be a beautiful and democratic shared space where people from all walks of life can come together to enjoy delicious food and amazing drinks.
We think of each Dishoom as a love letter to Bombay and Dishoom Edinburgh will combine our deep appreciation for Bombay, Edinburgh and our genuine love of people. Everyone will always be welcomed with real warmth.