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Univ in the Arts – Breakfast at Dishoom

Our latest Univ in the Arts event took place early on 3 May at the Verandah lounge at Dishoom Carnaby.

In his breakfast talk, Co-Founder Shamil Thakrar (1990, PPE) led a cultural tour of his celebrated restaurants, from the designs of the restaurants themselves – deeply rooted in story, time and place – to Dishoom’s adventures in publishing, music and theatre.

Attendee Richard Stewart (1997, History), Founder and Managing Director of Mindbench, said: “We enjoyed a delightful morning talk in the atrium of Dishoom Carnaby street, hearing Shamil Thakrar’s personal journey to establish the Dishoom restaurant business. After eating delicious breakfast naans and drinking sweet aromatic chai, we heard how Shamil’s childhood experiences in Bombay and love of Indian history had shaped his mission to bring communities together through food. Founding Dishoom allowed Shamil to channel his own creativity, through bringing to life stories of bold and enigmatic characters he had encountered, read about or dreamed up. We learnt too how people working at Dishoom were challenged to follow a specific ‘Dharma’ to give the best service they could at whatever they did, and how teams were brought together, encouraged, and inspired to be inclusive and connected. This included festivals, special events for Eid, and even trips to experience life in Bombay. It demonstrated his belief that business is about much more than profit and turnover, and successful businesses have a poetic essence at their core”.

About Shamil Thakrar

Shamil Thakrar co-founded Dishoom, one of the UK’s most successful Indian restaurant groups, in 2010. He runs the business with his cousin Kavi Thakrar. Dishoom was ranked fourth in the “100 Best UK Companies To Work For” list in 2021, ranking first in hospitality and leisure. Read our Profile interview with Shamil Thakrar.

Our thanks to all those who attended, those who worked hard behind the scenes both in College and within the Univ in the Arts committee, and especially to Shamil Thakrar for his generosity in hosting.

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Published: 26 May 2023

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