INTERVIEW: NAVID NASIR, CHEF

It’s Diwali Week and what better way to enjoy the festival than to pop down to one of the UK’s top Indian restaurant’s like Dishoom, London’s first Bombay-style cafe. Hg2 met up with Dishoom’s head chef, Naved Nasir, to find out why his restaurant is doing so well, plus how much of a Hedonist he is.

London restaurants

Navid Nasir, head chef at Dishoom in London.

Are you a Hedonist?
Although I enjoy fine food, I don’t think I am a true hedonist because at heart I believe in working hard to achieve a better future, even if it means sacrificing my enjoyment of the present. It’s also quite hard to be a hedonist in the current economic climate!

What is the best part of being a chef?
My favourite thing about my job is taking the raw ingredients then experimenting and refining them to create an amazing new dish. It gives me a real sense of pride and achievement when I see people enjoying my food.

What inspires your dishes?
Our all-day menu takes inspiration from the old Irani cafes of Bombay (like our chicken berry biryani, ‘brun maska’) and Bombay street food (like our grills, pau bhaji and our vada pau – a snack that’s a true Bombay institution). And some of our dishes are a nod to our London location, like our ever-popular Bacon Naans. All our food is cooked very fresh and packs a big flavour punch. We’re a long way from the rich, heavy dishes that some people associate with Indian cuisine.

Outside of India, where and what are some of the more authentic Indian restaurants?
In the past, Bukhara in New York which has sadly now closed. Asha’s in Dubai is very good.

In London, where is your favourite place to escape?
I’ve only been living in London since last year so I don’t need to escape – if anything I need to explore London more!

Have you found any hidden gems in the city?
It’s not really a hidden gem but I think Borough Market is fantastic. Any food lover visiting London should go there at least once – first thing in the morning, before the crowds.

London restaurants

Ground floor of Dishoom restaurant in London.

Where was your last holiday?
Last Saturday I went to Bournemouth to enjoy the Indian summer! Before that, I had a holiday in Athens.

What is your favourite hotel?
A stay at the Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort in Thailand would be the ultimate luxury getaway for me.

Carry-on essential?
It would have to be an iPad – so I can use the time to work and then relax with a game or a movie.

Favourite restaurants and why?
When I’m not treating my friends to a meal at Dishoom, I visit a Pakistani restaurant called Raavi’s on Drummond Street. I love their kababs and their nihari (a type of stew).

Favourite bar?
I don’t drink alcohol so you’d most likely to find me enjoying a cappuccino in the nearest Starbucks.

http://www.dishoom.com

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Hg2 | A Hedonist's Guide is a luxury city guide series coveted by travellers who value both style and substance when it comes to soaking up a city. Irreverent, inspired, and, above all, intelligent.

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