Railway Tiffin

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Anyone who knows me will know that; apart from trains, I enjoy restaurant meals…quite often and as I’ve posted before, these two go together…the development of the railway system facilitated the all-day dining and fast-food environments that are familiar today.

The early railways provided picnic hampers and it wasn’t long before there were dining cars and railway hotels. The scorched-earth food offer of modern travel is an indictment of how these businesses are run…there’s no room for pleasure; but that’s where the value is.

My own preference is for the French style of brasserie cooking…hearty classics from the oyster bar and grill-room. I like the food, the scale, and the movement, of these busy places.

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Good news!

Dishoom has just arrived at the next platform from CSM at KX. It’s Indian tappas-style served in their version of the faded glory of old-school Indian railway stations….this manages to combine informality and scale, with style and flavour…perfect, for me, at least.

I could quite easily spend the whole day there…

I remember that Indian railway stations are famous for their tiffin lunches. These are ready-meals delivered in lovely stacking boxes. The boxes are painted so as to be recognisable. Unlike in the UK, these railway lunches are generally prepared, fresh, in ordinary kitchens at home…

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The tiffin system is combines many small businesses into an operation of scale…and without the corporate organisation that standardises and economises. It’s so unusual that even the Harvard Business School have looked at tiffin logistics as a worthwhile model.

It’s not really railway food…but the system of logistical delivery is organised through the railway system. You see railway platforms covered with tins…but they don’t stay there.

Dishoom is big business. It’s a lifestyle and leisure brand spun-out of the Tilda rice empire…I can already see more of these.

I recommend the roasted cheese, paneer tikka, a nan bread, and an iced beer. Perfect.

Well done Dishoom.

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