Memsahib's Mess | Dishoom's Eton Mess with an Indian Twist

Your friendly food writer reporting from London... scraped (because for the sake of propriety, she couldn't lick) her dessert bowl clean at the popular "Dishoom" restaurant on High Street Ken, London.  And what was so good at Dishoom that warranted this? 

It was the cleverly named "Memsahib's Mess" on the dessert menu that first caught her eye and then proceeded to capture her taste buds. This gorgeous mess of a dessert is the classic British Eton mess dessert with an Indian twist, created specially by Dishoom, From Bombay with Love.💓

Memsahib's mess, Eton mess dessert with a twist, Strawberry mess, dessert, lipstick, diamond necklace, jewelry,
Memsahib's Mess Dessert- A seductively, delicious mess of whipped cream, meringue and strawberries topped with rose petals and rose syrup.

Dishoom Kensington, London

The Dishoom restaurants in London pay homage to the old Irani cafes of Bombay. Styled in a similar, though smarter fashion, they exude the charm of a bygone romantic era while upscaled for modern day niceties. Each Dishoom restaurant is unique and has its own story.

If you're ready for some time travel, step into the Dishoom restaurant on High Street Ken for an extravagant night of jazz and a deliciously good time back in Bombay's glamorous jazz age of 1948.

The setting of this Art Deco styled Dishoom Kensington restaurant is a fictional café cum jazz club (The Bombay Roxy) that pulls on architectural elements from the real Bombay of the 1940s. The dramatic, high ceilinged entrance and teak paneled pillars are drawn from Nazir Hoosein's Art Deco Liberty Cinema and the large clock that holds prominent place in the restaurant is modeled after the clock on Bombay's Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) building.

Dishoom Kensington, High Street Ken, London, Art Deco Dishoom Restaurant, black and white floor, cafe interiors, clock
The art deco interiors of the Dishoom Kensington restaurant inspired by the Liberty Cinema in Mumbai with Burmese teak paneled columns and marble floors. The large clock on the wall is an exact replica of the huge clock on the face of the Mumbai LIC building.

The walls are lined with old style Indian wall fans, desilvered vintage mirrors and faded black and white photos of ghosts of the past. Gorgeous art deco chandeliers drip like jewelry off the ceiling and up on the balcony looking down at the diners, jazz musicians rock the joint.

A night at the Bombay Roxy, Bombay, Dishoom Kensington, poster
The setting at Dishoom Kensington is a fictional cafe cum jazz club (the Bombay Roxy) from 1940s Bombay. A poster at the restaurant advertising a night of jazz at the The Bombay Roxy.

The entire place is a complete sensory treat and like all good clubs, comes with it's own set of rules that are etched into the wall at the entrance and are hugely entertaining.

Cafe Rules, Dishoom Kensington, London
Cafe rules at Dishoom Kensington

If the ambience doesn't get you, the creative menu surely will with its interestingly named fare: Prawn Koliwada (named after Bombay Koli fishermen and Wada the district), No Butter-Bhutta (served Chowpatty Beach style, grilled with chili and lime), Gun Powder Potatoes, Colaba's Bademiya style tandoori items and Malabar Hill Memsahib's Mess.... all from Bombay with Love.

Dishoom Cookery book, From Bombay with Love, Memsahib's Mess
The Dishoom Cookery Book-"From Bombay With Love", available for purchase at the restaurant and at every popular bookstore in town.

Memsahib's Mess- The Story Behind the Name

Memsahib's Mess is Dishoom's take on the classic British dessert, the Eton Mess. According to the description on the Dishoom Pudding Menu, 'Memsahib's Mess is what the Memsahibs of Malabar Hill used to serve at their fancy parties. Fresh cream, crushed meringue and strawberries with rose syrup and gulkand.' How intriguing! It sounded like a strawberry pavlova to me, but the name was so delightful that this memsahib had to try it.

And when the waiter set it out in front of me, I realized what an aptly named dessert this was. It was one, giant mess. 

It looked like something that the Memsahib had dropped on the floor and then piled back hurriedly into the bowl before bringing it out to table. 

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Whether the original creator of this dessert was having a bad day in the kitchen, or whether she was a carefree, non-perfectionist we will never know. But, this quick thinking memsahib sure did have a sense of humor. The dessert was fabulous and I've taken it on myself from this day forth, to christen any botched pavlova I make as "Memsahib's Mess".

Memsahib's Mess, Dishoom from Bombay with Love, Eton mess dessert with a twist, Eton Mess with an Indian Twist, meringue with strawberries and cream

Anyway, the next day, back at home in Holland Park, with my 3 year old nephew's help, we recreated bowls of "Memsahib's Mess" for the family. By the way, this is one dessert that is absolute fun preparing with toddlers. No talent required. And the worse it looks the better it tastes.

So, large bowls of "Memsahib's Mess" were plonked in front of the family. Of course, I had to endure a hard round of ribbing as the family quipped that Memsahib's Mess wasn't just an imaginative name reserved for a botched pavlova, but was also a suitable description for the inside of my closet, my sock drawer, my kitchen pantry etc. etc... and as my husband took great glee in proclaiming, the inside of my purse, which he christened "Memsahib's Royal Giant Mess" where memsahib can never find anything.

How to make Memsahib's Mess (Eton Mess Dessert with a Twist)

If you've ever tried making a pavlova meringue that flopped miserably, don't fret. Here's an opportunity to turn that botched pavlova, that horribly failed meringue into something lovely. Time to effortlessly make 'Memsahib's Mess' or Eton Mess dessert with an Indian twist.


☐ 1 large Pavlova shell or meringue nests or ready made meringues (broken into pieces). See my recipe to make a pavlova meringue shell.
☐ 1 cup whipped cream
☐ 1 cup sliced strawberries
☐ Rose syrup (optional)
☐ Crushed dried rose petals (optional)

Step by Step Instructions:

1. Slice fresh strawberries

2. Whip the cold fresh cream in a cold bowl until soft peaks form.

3. Break the pavlova meringue into pieces in another bowl.

4. When ready to serve, fold the broken pavlova meringue pieces with the whipped cream and strawberries until just combined. 

5. Spoon into bowls, drizzle on rose syrup and garnish with a sprinkling of dried rose petals. Serve immediately. 

If you liked this recipe, you  may also enjoy my Low Calorie Strawberry and Mango Pavlova.

Low calorie pavlova, mango, strawberry, rose petals, greek yogurt, meringue

Click on the "Sweets and Desserts" or "Anglo Indian" labels below to explore my other recipes.

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