Dishoom restaurant brings Bombay dining to London
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Dishoom restaurant brings Bombay dining to a railway warehouse in London's King's Cross

Diners are invited to imagine mid 20th-century Bombay at this restaurant in a former railway transit shed close to King's Cross station in London (+ slideshow).

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

Like the first two of Shamil and Kavi Thakrar's London restaurants, the third Dishoom pays homage to the Irani cafes that sprung up around Bombay – now Mumbai – during the first half of the 20th century.

The Thakrars modelled the new restaurant on a "godown" – or warehouse – they imagined behind the Indian city's Victoria station. In their story, an Irani immigrant set up an makeshift stall there in the 1920s that grew into a popular cafe during the period of the Indian Independence Movement.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

The aim was to recreate the atmosphere of that narrative in a section of warehouse behind Central Saint Martins art college, and to continue the legacy of the handful of these cafes that remain in Mumbai.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

With the help of interiors studio Macaulay Sinclair, the cavernous space was broken up into a series of levels that create over 830 square metres of serving and dining space, for up to 250 covers.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

"We looked at the space and thought about how we could break it up architecturally to make it more homely," Shamil Thakrar told Dezeen.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

The building's original brickwork was retained where possible, while other walls that were previously painted white have been treated to look distressed.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

A steel mezzanine was added to create more floor area, maintaining the sense of height and views of the pitched roof from the entrance, but also adding more intimate dining areas.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

The new horizontal steelwork bridging the old structure and the new platform carries the services and provides the framework for suspended lights.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

This upper level houses the open kitchen and a small amount of seating, with monochrome furniture matching the floor tiles.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

Other original tile patterns taken from references in Mumbai are laid across the entrance level, where a book kiosk from the city's main rail terminus has been replicated and used to form a juice bar.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

"To someone who grew up in Bombay, this would look weirdly familiar," said Thakrar. "There's an enormous amount of detail here."

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

Slogans and posters relating to the independence movement are written across the walls, accompanied by a collection of the Thakrars' black-and-white family photos.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

The owners and the designers embarked on two trips to India to find inspiration and to source over 100 antiques to furnish the space with.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

Items they brought back include a porcelain wash basin, room dividers and a pair of scales, which are carefully placed around the space. A replica of the clock that hangs in Victoria station is suspended above the staircase.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

On the raised podium beneath the balcony, some of the restaurant chairs are made from repurposed second-class railway seats. Other furniture pieces hark back to Bombay's Art Deco heritage. "Bombay is the second most Deco city in the world after Miami," explained Thakrar.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

Towards the back of the building, a double-height dining area for larger parties features an oval-shaped table surrounded by photographs depicting key moments in India's move away from British control.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

This area is accessed by a corridor that wraps around the edge of the building, overlooking the floor below.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

The basement, which formerly housed the building's stables, is now a bar called the Permit Room – a reference to the permit required to purchase and consume alcohol in Bombay.

Dishoom restaurant King's Cross London

Dark wooden furniture sits on the original cobbles, providing space for up to 92 drinkers to sample the selection of Bombay-influenced cocktails.

Photography is by John Carey.