We all love a little Dishoom in our lives. (The okra fries are to die for.) Now the restaurant brand with its cult-like following is bringing its much-loved experience to our homes with the launch of meal kits, cocktail kits and gift boxes that continue to pay homage to Bombay.
Of course, with 'dining out' currently off the menu, the company needed to find other ways to keep its devotees happy. So it called on London agency Smith&+Village, known for its work with Harvey Nichols and Harrods, to create a boxed set of the trio of Permit Room cocktails.
There's a choice of Sonia's Negroni, named after the Italian-born Indian politician; the gin-based India Gimlet, with Rose's lime, dill and celery bitters; or the Permit Room Old-Fashioned – a bottle-aged mix of Woodford Reserve bourbon, bay leaf reduction and green tea. And for those of you missing Dishoom's brunch menu, you can now recreate it at home with the redesigned Bacon or Vegan Sausage Naan Roll Kits, including extra dough for "experimentation".
"With the cocktail bottles, we wanted them to feel like they'd been found at the back of a cabinet in the bar of a grand old Bombay hotel," says Debrah Smith, creative director of Smith&+Village. "Dishoom wanted glamour, but a sort of dishevelled, faded grandeur, with influences from the cocktail age of the 1920s and 1930s. Everything Dishoom does is deeply rooted in some aspect of Bombay history. They are meticulous and detailed in their research and were able to provide extensive photos and archive material of Bombay's beautiful old art deco buildings. I was very inspired by the wall details and window shapes."
With the architecture in mind, the outside shape of the label apparently came from a ceiling sconce in an old art deco building. "I took the shape and gnarled away at it, so it wasn't perfect," adds Debrah. "The labels have a textured varnish on plus a foil, so have that sort of old leathery deco feel, like a book cover. And then since these were not going to be for retail, but direct sales, we had the idea to put any extra-legal text on a removable wrap label made of thin parchment."
"Dishoom love sharing stories, and this parchment became the place where we could tell the story of the cocktail, with serving suggestions, illustrations and legal," says Debrah. "And when it's taken off the bottle feels like something from the past. It also adds a bit of discovery to the gift – where it feels like one thing and ends up being another."
Richard Village, strategy director at Smith&+Village said: "Dishoom inspires cult-like devotion among its customers, who would think nothing of queuing round the block on a weekend for the delights of brunch or dinner at one of its restaurants. People absolutely love it and swear by it, and feel very much part of it.
"But it exists in the restaurant space, which has been hugely challenged in the past year. Dishoom recognised that Smith&+Village could help them exist and thrive in a new space – at home drinking and dining."