Dum Biryani House

London’s food revolution continues apace with new genres of food appearing on our streets and old genres being revisited in interesting forms

The first thing I learned from my visit here is that I had been missing-spelling the house speciality as briyani my entire life, a habit acquired in my native Malaysia where they spell it like that

Indian restaurants have worked their way into the British favour lexicon with chicken tikka masala even taking the honours in one survey for Britain’s favourite dish. However, the first wave of restaurants had to adjust to the British palate with some Indian restaurant retaining legacy dishes such as prawn cocktail on the menu to this day

It’s nice to see an Indian restaurant take a chance on being different in eschewing but the usual sprawl of dishes and limiting themselves to 3 biryanis, a few starters and 2 desserts. In biryani, they’ve chosen wisely. I have had some heavenly versions and one of the owners described it to me as the original one pot meal with versions tailored for all price points from royalty to the common man

Dum Biryani House is located at the northern end of Wardour Street in Soho. You enter the blue door into the subterranean restaurant. I managed to grab a seat right under the skylight to get good light fir my photos. When I looked up. I could see pedestrians walking over the clear tiles above my head

I stuck with water as they offered sweet and salty lassi but not my favourite mango lassi. For reasons to be explained, get a drink though

I had a plate of masala nuts to start – nice and moreish with a suitably exotic spice blend coating

Then, to the main course of lamb shank biryani. It was exciting to see the dish arrive with a traditional pastry lid, which is edible and indeed still wonderfully crispy despite helping to steam the meat and rice contents

It was a generous portion. The meat was moist and unctuous with a heady aroma of spicing but too sadly, the spice level was too hot. I applaud their drive for authenticity but it’s too hot, especially for the UK market. I have a strong palate for chilli heat but even I could finish it as my stomach was complaining by the end. More raita required as standard

I did love the flavours and if the heat level was toned down, it would be a great dish. I was a little disappointed that when I tried to feed thus back to the wait staff, they essentially said,’Too bad’. I would love to bring my wife here but not at these heat levels

A noble try but with a small menu concentrating on a signature dish, you have to offer some control over heat levels

Dum Biryani House
187B Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F 8ZB

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