We have a new kid on the block! Talli Joe is the latest addition to the dining scene in Shaftesbury Avenue. Inspired by dive bars of India, Talli (meaning, Tipsy in Hindi) Joe serves up small plates from the different regions of India with a contemporary twist, alongside with Indian-inspired cocktails brought to you by Sameer Taneja, former chef at Michelin-starred restaurant, Benares.
As soon as I heard Talli Joe was having a soft launch week, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to be among the first to try out selected items from the food menu and that’s how we arrived at Talli Joe on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
As soon as you walk in the restaurant, you can’t help but notice the bright and cheery interiors with Bollywood music playing softly in the background.
The menu is not like any other that you would typically come across in an Indian restaurant. The dishes have been deliberately chosen to show-off some of India’s less well-known cooking styles and includes the likes of Kale Chaat; Sorpotel & Sanna, Goan pork with offal pickle and coconut rice cake; and Talli Machi, grilled red mullet with a dash of Old Monk rum.
We started off the Masala Papad. The presentation of it was excellent and pretty creative, in my opinion. Rolled into cones, the papad came filled with a mixture of chilli, tomatoes, coriander, onions and a drizzle of mint chutney.
We quickly moved on to the half plates. First up, we had the Chicken 21; stir-fried chicken with south Indian spices and curry leaves. The chicken was tender and absolutely flavorful. I could have had another plate of this.
Next, our Shrimp Rasam Shot (shrimp poached in south Indian tomato broth) arrived. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I ordered this. The rasam (tomato broth), while very tasty, was not as different as the ones that I’ve tried before. And I was hoping for a little more shrimps.
The Raghogarhi Fish (banana leaf wrapped sea bass and rice bake) was AMAZING. The fish was so fresh, almost melted in my mouth. I must have chomped it down really fast. I was left feeling wanting more of the dish, If only the portion could have been bigger.
Lastly, we went for the Messy Thokku (organic egg pickle, andhra spices and puff roti). This dish was a surprise to the taste buds. It was tangy and flavorful, especially when combined together with the roti. Excellent.
Talli Joe opens officially on Wednesday, 4th May 2016!
I do hope to be visiting soon again to try out the rest of their food menu and especially their Indian-inspired cocktails some evening.