Dishoom to open in Manchester’s former Freemasons’ Hall this winter

by | Aug 30, 2018 | Food & Drink | 0 comments

The team behind the much-loved Dishoom restaurants are delighted to confirm that they will open in Manchester this winter, in the historic Manchester Hall on Bridge Street.

Like their other restaurants, this newest member of the Dishoom family will pay loving homage to the old Irani cafés of Bombay, and will be open every day from early until late, serving Executive Chef Naved Nasir’s breakfast menu (with the renowned Bacon Naan Roll), followed by the all-day sharing menu of Bombay comfort food – small plates, grills, biryanis, salad plates, rolls and curries. Dishoom Manchester will also feature a Permit Room bar, serving Daru-walla1 Carl Brown’s brilliant list of delicious and sincere tipples, as well as some brand-new cocktails and a range of excellent non-alcoholic cocktails, known as ‘copy tipples’.

Irani cafés
Irani cafés were once part of the fabric of life in Bombay. Opened early last century by Zoroastrian immigrants from Iran, there were almost four hundred of these cafés at their peak in the 1960s. Now fewer than thirty remain. Their faded elegance welcomed all: courting couples, sweaty taxi-wallas, students, artists and lawyers. The cafés broke down barriers by bringing people together over food and drink. Bombay was more open and welcoming for their existence. Dishoom pays homage to these Irani cafés and the food of all Bombay.

Freemasonry in Bombay
The Dishoom team loves exploring the connections between their restaurant locales and Bombay, and immersing themselves in the past (from momentous historical events to odd little stories). So, in Dishoom Manchester, they saw an opportunity to explore the unexpected links between Manchester, Bombay and Freemasonry. As a first step, they visited Bombay’s Freemasonry Hall – the Lodge Rising Star (pictured above) – with long-time collaborators Macaulay Sinclair. Through the course of their research, the team discovered that this lodge provided Bombay’s most influential and powerful people with a valuable space to meet and discuss philanthropic projects, business deals and suchlike. And, much to the team’s delight, the lodge has changed little since it was built in 1843 – as such, many of its charming or eccentric characteristics have informed the design for Dishoom Manchester. As always, the team spent much time in the remaining Irani cafés, as well as sourcing original furniture and artefacts, which will be lovingly restored and put to good use in Dishoom Manchester.

The Tower of Silence
The creative team behind Dishoom always write a story – a founding myth – for each restaurant. This founding myth provides the basis for every design decision and is always deeply rooted in an aspect of Bombay history. And so, while exploring Bombay-Manchester links, the team were delighted to discover a novel called ‘The Tower of Silence’ (from a lost manuscript, recovered and published by historian and good friend of Dishoom, Gyan Prakash,). It was written by a little-known author named Phiroshaw Jamsetjee Chevalier, and originally published in 1927, (at the same time that Manchester Hall was under construction). The novel sees the fictional but famous British private eye Sexton Blake and an elusive Parsi vigilante known only as ‘Beram’ journey between London, Manchester and Bombay. The team were absorbed by this boisterous (and at times barmy) 1920s pulp fiction narrative, and wrote the Dishoom Manchester story as a continuation of this novel: In which an elusive Irani dupes Sexton Blake in a Freemasons’ Hall

Bombay, 1923. A smartly dressed Englishman sits on a bentwood chair in Café Excelsior, an Irani café on Ravelin Street. He breathes in the aroma of baking bread, takes a sip of his strong chai and studies his surrounds carefully. The place and the people (families, students, businessmen – all sitting cheek by jowl) make him more relaxed than he perhaps should be. He arrived in Bombay that morning, called by the note now placed in his jacket pocket from enemy-turned-ally, Beram. Its few but forceful words are etched into his memory: “You must come to Bombay. Meet me in the Irani café behind the Freemasons’ Hall – I will know when you are there. Your debt has been called.”

Read the full Dishoom Manchester story:

Careers: The opening will create 100 new jobs for Manchester, and the Dishoom team is eager to find big- hearted and first-class individuals to join them in Manchester. In doing so, they will join a Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to work for. Dishoom prides themselves on offering fun, rewarding and stable careers with excellent opportunities to learn, grow and develop life-long skills. Those who embark on a career with Dishoom will receive industry-leading training, fantastic benefits and a chance to progress their career in hospitality with a company who truly puts its people first.

Further details of Dishoom Manchester will be released later this year ahead of the opening. The Dishoom team are excited to settle into the city and look forward to welcoming everyone this winter.

Author : Emily Fitzgibbons

Editor at The Glossy Magazine | Journalist & Office Manager at Salutions Limited

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