DUM Biryani, the essential Hyderabadi restaurant from Drhuv Mittal in Soho, has shelved plans to open at The Kitchens in Spitalfields Market.
Eater reported that Dum would open 8 August, taking a market stall opposite Berber & Q to offer a three-dish edit of the restaurant’s menu: the dry mutton fry, paneer pav, and the traditional, pastry-capped chicken biryani. The stall was viewed as a trial run — for both restaurant and landlord — with a view to taking up a permanent pitch on the premises.
Now, plans are on hold. Sources close to the project told Eater that “issues with the landlord” had led to the project being “parked indefinitely.” The Kitchens has been in a state of flux in recent months, with a series of notable departures: Happy Endings ice cream sandwiches, Rok — the modern Nordic operator, and Sood’s fresh pasta. While these have in turn been replaced, the early closing times for Kitchens units favour lunch-suited operators: some of the restaurants that have closed were, it seems, simply not a good fit. In addition, Eater understands that the rents on the units are high, calling into question The Kitchens’ position and mission as a more affordable, lower-risk route to market for new operators.
Eater has now learned that the restaurant was informed that it could not take the planned pitch two days before the scheduled opening. The market has been restructured, with legacy traders — including Bleecker Burger and Indian restaurant Indigo — moving into the centre of the market. Dum’s offering no longer stood out enough — according to the landlord — and so the pitch was rejected. Eater understands that the units vacated by the legacy traders will be given over to fashion labels.