Thali – A hidden gem in South Kensington:
South Kensington isn’t somewhere that immediately springs to mind for good Indian food. In fact, when I lived down the road, in West Brompton, I despaired of finding a good Indian restaurant and instead used to visit Taiwan Village to indulge in hot, spicy Taiwanese dishes. If only I’d found Thali, I might never have left. Actually, that’s simply not true – but finding a local Indian must be high on the list of desirables for anyone looking for a new home.
Thali is the kind of place that manages to combine feeling like a treat with being relaxed enough to indulge at least once a week…and remarkably for a rather expensive part of town, despite the impeccable service and white linen table settings, it’s not horribly expensive. We started with a selection of four small plates.
Aloo Papari Chaat (£3.95) is a mixture of potatoes, puri with sweet yoghurt and tamarind chutney. It’s the kind of street food snack that has become very popular in the UK and makes for a good informal sharing dish. Along the same lines, Palak Chaat – spinach with sweetened yoghurt and chutneys (£6.95) is an exquisite mixture of crispy spinach dressed with yoghurt that seems almost healthy.
On a different level, Grilled Scallops (£6.95) came with a delicious lightly spiced cherry tomato cream sauce. The tiny queenies were perfectly cooked and not in the least rubbery. The sauce was perhaps a little overwhelming but, in a very moreish and tasty way!
Our showcase starter of Crab patties (£7.45) comprised tender snow crab meat coated in a crisp mint and coriander shell, served with chutney and spices – utterly delectable.
For mains, we picked the Malabar chicken curry, the special of the day, a rich and mild coconut and tomato sauce dressing the tenderest of chicken.
And, a delicious Tandoori Partridge (£13), a whole bird marinated in masala dill and spice, jointed for service.
We chose a Dal Makani (£5.50) and Saag Paneer (£5.50) as side dishes, both beautifully presented and nicely seasoned.
Dessert came in the form of a classic mango Kulfi (£4.95) and delectable Gajar Ka Halwa with ice cream, a light mixture of carrot with almonds, milk and sugar that sounds unlikely on paper but works extremely well.
I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Thali. The restaurant was busy without being overwhelmingly crowded, service was pleasant and efficient and the food was really very good. I’m just a little sad that I’ve discovered it now, after I’ve moved from West London, because I know it would have been somewhere I went to on a regular basis. Now, I’ll just have to make sure it’s on my recommendation list when I’m meeting friends in the area.
Disclosure: I dined as a guest of Thali