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Monday 6 August 2018

New Sunday Brunch Menu at DUM Biryani House - Big and Bold Flavours Be Warned!

Name: DUM Biriyani House

Where: 187 Wardour Street, London W1F 8ZB, https://dumlondon.com/

Cost: Sunday brunch dishes are priced from £6 to £19. The entry level wines, both priced at £25.50, are an Argentinian Torrontes, and an Australian Shiraz-Cabernet.  There is also draft Cobra beer at £6 per pint, with Empress Ale at £5 per bottle. 

About: Opened in 2016 on Wardour Street, this is the first restaurant of Dhruv Mittal, who was born to Hyderabadi parents and grew up in Manchester. Dhruv trained at Le Cordon Bleu London, as well as at The Fat Duck, Hibiscus and Restaurant Sat Bains.

Dhruv aims to bring classic Hyderabadi cooking to London's diners (but giving his own personal stamp on it), with its blend of southern Indian tropical ingredients like coconut and spices, and the Islamic influences coming from Mughal, Turkish and Arab waves of migration over the centuries.

The restaurant is in the lower ground floor on Soho's Wardour Street, has natural light from a lightwell, and is decked out in bright colours with Indian cartoons adorning the walls.

The restaurant has garnered a reputation for its excellent biryanis, and since July 2018, is serving a Sunday Brunch menu from 12pm to 4pm, and from 6pm to 10pm, so I hurried along to give it a try.

What We Ate: Shredded lamb fry with masala quail eggs (£11.50) is a variation on a typical Hyderabadi breakfast dish, with sourdough bread toasted and topped with fenugreek pachadi, stir-fried lamb and spicy fried quail eggs.

Next up was a whole banana chilli filled with a creamy potato and paneer stuffing,  and served with sweet and sour tamarind chutney, with a refreshing crunch from fried puffed rice, pomegranate seeds, peanuts and coriander chutney (£6).

Whole deep-fried soft shell crab in a garlic and butter sauce (£7) was crisp and delicious.

I loved the Portuguese chorizo stir-fried with garlic, ginger and Hyderabadi whole spices, served in a brioche bun (£10.50), like an upmarket Indian burger.

Andhra chargrilled half baby chicken (£16.50), roasted in a richly flavoursome masala rub, was served with mustard seed and coconut chutney, and pickled onion salad. The chicken was beautifully presented on banana leaves - the meat was succulent, and the flavour heightened by a squeeze from the little chargrilled limes.

Best of all was the restaurant's signature dish, a whole lamb shank biryani (£21), served thali-style with a beetroot raita, poppadoms, a salan made from sesame seeds and chilli, and lime pickle.

Served in a metal serving dish topped with puff pastry, waves of saffron-infused steam burst out when we cut into it.  The lamb was tender, succulent and fragrant, and I would happily return just to enjoy this biryani again.

To finish, we had a glass of refreshing watermelon chaat (£6) - the fruit had been spiked with a host of different Hyderabadi spices.

What We Drank: We shared the bottomless Hyderabadi Rum Punch (£15 for 2 hours), with Old Monk rum, mango juice, pineapple juice and Grenadine, which had refreshing tropical fruit but appeared light on rum. There is free of charge still filtered water and sparkling at £1 for the first bottle, but with free top-ups which is commendable.

Likes: The food overall was really well seasoned, fresh and zingy.  Dishes were well priced. Highlights for me were the lamb shank biryani, the baby chicken and the banana chilli. It is great to see Dhruv bringing his own ideas and Cordon Bleu training to Hyderabadi dishes.

Dislikes: For me, the punch was a tad sweet and lacking in rum, and I would not want to drink it for 2 hours. 

Verdict: Zingy, fresh and well-seasoned Indian food, the whole lamb shank Hyderabadi biryani is superlative. DUM is now my go-to place for biryani and well-priced modern Indian cooking in London. Highly recommended.   

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