Indian · Indian Street Food · South Indian

Dum Biryani House

The London food scene has never been as dynamic as it currently is. Not only does London continue to offer an abundance of choice, it also provides a multitude of dining trends. One such trend that continues to captivate diners is the gentrification of rustic and homely dishes into nouvelle cuisine.

Dum Biryani House is part of this new wave of restaurants that aims to reignite our passion for traditional comfort cuisine by infusing it with a contemporary twist.

Located in the hip and trendy streets of Soho, Dum Biryani House brings with it the “esteem” (which is the meaning of Dum) and heritage of Andhra Pardesh, a region in the southern coast of India.

The venue is deceptive in size, as the beguiling small entrance, guides you down to a subterranean labyrinth of dining areas that will make you gasp in wonderment. The decor is a homage, and a retro-chic take on the archetypal roadside shacks and canteen style eateries of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pardesh.

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To start our South Indian food fest, from the “Snack” segment of the menu, which offers small eats tapas style dishes, we began with the “Kala Channa Masala”, which was a black chickpeas salad. The salad was spicy from the masala marinade, sweet from the tomato and refreshingly acidic from the juicy red onions. This was an authentic dish that you would expect to obtain from any food hawker from the streets of India. – Worth a Try

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“Dahi Kebabs”, were fried yogurt patties with an Andhra tomato chutney. This was an innovative dish. The yogurt kebabs were firm in texture with a breadcrumb coating. The yogurt lacked seasoning, yet contained hidden chilli flakes that provided bursts of heat. The most sensational component of the dish was the Andhra tomato chutney, which provided a salaciously sweet taste that was surreptitiously subdued with a subtle chilli caress, that numbed the mouth to euphoric heights. – Recommended

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The “Kodi Vepdudu” were chicken wings in a hot & sour masala marinade. The wings were supple and succulent, and provided a prominent spicy flavour that made the taste buds quiver with heat and delight. – Recommended

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Finally we had the “Andrah Prawn Fry”, which were fried king prawns in red chilli and coconut. The prawns were ample in size and meaty to the bite, with a nutty texture from the coconut. Once again the flavours were spicy, with a good degree of heat to make the mouth pulsate. Personally, I would have preferred some sweetness to emanate from the coconut, so to add an extra flavour dimension to the dish. – Recommended

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From the “Biryani” section, we ordered the “Lamb Shank Biryani”, which was accompanied with a green chilli curry that contained half an egg and a smoked aubergine raita. The biryani arrived looking majestic, with an exquisite puff pastry crown, which was light and buttery. As we cracked open the pastry, a steam of aromatic spices were released to intoxicate our senses. The biryani had a cornucopia of spices running through it, which predominantly provided a spicy and hot curried flavour. But the cool and refreshing raita bought some respite to the spiciness of the biryani. The green chilli curry was creamy and tongue tinglingly hot and the lamb shank was effervescently tender, dissolving effortlessly in the mouth. – Recommended

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All the dishes that were presented to us were executed expertly to achieve the authentic flavours of Hyderabad. Although each dish made my gastatory cells dance with jubilation, for my taste, I would have enjoyed a selection of more flavour combinations, instead of the prominent piquancy of spice and chilli, which was a recurrent theme in all the dishes.

Nonetheless, Dum Biryani House effortlessly accomplishes its goal of putting the humble biryani in the spotlight.

Restaurants serving biryanis is a concept as old as Hyderabad’s 400-year-old culinary history. However, to find an eatery like Dum Biryani House that does not compromise on spice and delivers authentic flavours that you would expect from a typical South Indian household, while presenting the dishes à la mode is still somewhat of a rarity in central London. For that very reason, Dum Biryani House offers an experience that is not just unique to halal food adventures, but to all London diners.

*Disclaimer: We were invited to review the restaurant.

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