SquareMeal Review of
This boozy Indian diner is the work of ex-Benares executive chef Sameer Taneja, cleverly offering quick bites (‘#halfplates’) and strong drinks to time-poor Theatreland goers. The open-plan room is split between benches, bar seats and more intimate corners with banquettes, furnished in rattan, light wood and bright colours. Talli (‘T‐uh‐li’) translates as ‘tipsy’ in Hindi and you’ll acclimatise swiftly: every diner is welcomed with a miniature Masala Punch cocktail, while the 16-strong cocktail list is organised into India’s regions. Our East Indian Paan-Aam mixed Tequila, Betel leaf and raw mango purée, while a Southern Baba Budan blends aged rum with coffee and bitters. Cocktails are strong and adequate, but the real draw on our visit was kale chaat, a crisp and creamy melding of lightly fried kale, potato, pomegranate and yogurt. Another highlight was light and soft-fleshed sea bass, wrapped in a banana leaf and baked with rice, whereas dishes such as a pappy tandoori lamb chop were of questionable quality. A heritage black carrot and peanut brittle dessert was a delicious balance of sticky and sweet, or finish with a masala chai. A short international wine list as affordable as everything else, while well-drilled staff are always on hand. The words ‘rollout-ready’ spring to mind and if those patchy dishes Talli-go, we wouldn’t bet against more Talli-Joe.