Dishoom (Shoreditch) & Nightjar (Old Street)

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Last week I went out of my comfort zone…to East London.

Despite having lived in various areas of London, I now consider myself very much a south of the river kind of girl. I obviously venture North quite regularly (in fact every day to go to work) but prefer not to go east if it can be avoided. One of my friends lives there though and I thought it was time I made a trip that way. One reason for the journey was to go in search of a cronut…I have become mildly obsessed with the concept since I heard about it a few months ago but am yet to find one. The place on brick lane which normally sells them didn’t have any when we went, so the search continues…if anyone knows where I can track one down please let me know!

Anyway, after our wander in search of the mythical cronut we had worked up quite an appetite. As always at the moment, the weather wasn’t great so we were thinking we needed to go somewhere with warming food. The conversation went something like this… Curry? Yes. Dishoom? Obviously!

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I know that around that end of town there are lots of more ‘traditional’ curry houses but Dishoom is a bit more of a modern/western twist on Indian food and their menu is amazing. We went for a few different dishes to share. All pretty great but my favourites are definitely the okra fries and the black daal.
Lamb samosas – crispy parcels of loveliness.

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Okra fries – crispy, crunchy and a little spicy – I would eat these everyday if I could. My friend isn’t a fan of okra but he loves these, so if you don’t like okra don’t let that put you off.

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Black daal – hearty, warming and perfect for dipping bread in. (Sorry about the world’s fuzziest photo!!)

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Cheese naan – possibly the best cheese naan ever, it’s made with cheddar (a lot of places use milder cheese or paneer) – perfect for dipping in daal or other sauces.

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Ruby chicken – tender, juicy and a little spicy – another winner.

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And finally, chicken tikka – way better than anywhere else, they use a mixture of spices which works so well.

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Having eaten more than enough food we thought we would go for a little wander. Not ones to wander aimlessly (unless in search of cronuts) we headed in the direction of cocktails. I’d read about Nightjar before and had heard good things, but as I try to avoid East London whenever possible I hadn’t made it there yet.

The website describes it as ‘a hidden slice of old-school glamour on the fringes of Shoreditch’ and I’d say this is a fair description. We arrived at 6pm on a Sunday and were asked if we had a reservation… After my slight panic that maybe it’s ‘cool’ to go out on a Sunday night and that we should have maybe booked I was relieved to find that they had some tables. You go down the stairs into quite a large bar which is designed as a speakeasy from the prohibition era.

All of the cocktails were pretty great and you can’t really go wrong. My friend has a Hurricane Camille (lots of alcohol and some fruit juice).

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And I had a Little Entente (vodka, elderflower liqueur and lime), which was very yummy

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We proceeded to make our way through the list of cocktails, and they are all seriously strong!! We had been eyeing up something called the Barrel-aged Zombie and were debating if it was sensible for a Sunday evening. It contains four types of rum, absinthe, brandy and then a few other things. The consensus was probably not as we both had work the next day but then we had a moment of madness and ordered two…

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The absinthe is set alight and they give you a home made white chocolate Jaffa cake type thing on top which is so alcoholic it could knock your socks off!

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Did I regret it when I had to get up at 6am the next day for work? Yes. Would I have one again? Most definitely!! Both Dishoom and Nightjar are reasons to go to East London (and that’s high praise coming from me)! The websites are here: http://www.dishoom.com (they also have a branch in Covent Garden) and http://www.barnightjar.com

Also sorry I have been so slack at posting recently, things have been very busy at work and December is a month of lots of drinking so often forget to take photos for the blog, but in case you are weird and care what I eat normally you can peruse my Instagram page http://instagram.com/munchandbrunch And one of my many New Years resolutions is to blog more and actually put some recipes up so if I manage to stick to it then watch this space!

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